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Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds 

Golden Gloves (www.whiskeyhounds.com)

Golden Gloves sets a high standard for the alt-country scene in these parts. Granted, there's not really anything new here: The solitary, sometimes love-crazed, sometimes just-plain-crazed protagonists inhabiting songs such as "Behind These Walls," "Kisses for Free," and "Dead Man's Shoes" have shown up in many an outlaw country tune. But Hoover makes them fresh and sharp, with a knack for a nicely turned phrase and the occasional unexpected chord.

The 'Hounds are a sparing and solid bunch; on Golden Gloves, they generally hold back more than they let go. Theirs is an inspired, Southern-fried sound that evokes the golden days of the old Capricorn label. If Hoover has more strong tunes in his satchel, this is quite likely the Whiskeyhounds' last "regional" release.

Speaking of Regional Beat

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