What makes the Hangdogs stand out among the many Americana acts fighting for recognition is Grimm's subject matter. Grimm, who was raised in Iowa but didn't form the band until the early '90s, after he had moved to upstate New York to attend Syracuse University, demystifies the U.S. economy ("Out There"), American history ("Anacostia"), military strength ("The World Is Yours"), and handgun culture ("The Gun Song"). That's not to say that this is soapbox rock -- Grimm tells plenty of stories that don't become didactic. "St. Claire of Cedar Rapids" compares favorably to quintessential Americana artists such as Steve Earle, the Beat Farmers, and Jason & the Scorchers. Their urban roots notwithstanding, Beware solidifies the Hangdogs' place as one of the leading lights of the contemporary Americana movement.
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