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Eddie Spaghetti 

The Sauce (MidFi)

We're talking about the potty-mouthed singer of a band that's two parts Dead Boys and one part Crazy Horse -- accuse him of being a folk singer, and he just might slam his glass down on the bar. But The Sauce is a blatant violation of the usual rocker-goes-country equation. For one thing, the voice of Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti sounds rich and assured, rather than needlessly stylistic (Jack White) or deer-caught-in-the-headlights warbly (Kid Rock). The setting is equally gimmick-free -- no lonesome mandolin or dusky pedal steel -- leaving standards like Merle Haggard's "Misery and Gin" and Don Gibson's "Sea of Heartbreak" sweet and direct.

The Sauce, though, is no mere boilerplate of country classics, but a wide-ranging demonstration of Spaghetti's personal taste. He turns in an elegant reading of Steve Earle's "I Don't Want to Lose You Yet" and milks a sophisticated, jazz-fringed vibe from the Supersuckers' "Sleepy Vampire." Spaghetti even digs up Randy Newman's "Blue Shadows on the Trail" from the '80s comedy The Three Amigos; without the spectacle of backup-singing horses, the track reveals a nostalgic lullaby to cowboy culture. Far from being the work of some yodeling dilettante, The Sauce is pure country-folk, rolling by as evenly and earnestly as that of a hardcore troubadour.

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