Hayes Carll

Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)

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Hayes Carll alt-country Steve Earle

Poor Hayes Carll. His girl just left him for Jesus. "She showed me a picture," sings the Austin-based troubadour on his major-label debut. "All I could do was stare at that freak in the sandals, with his long purty hair." Carll's ex even tries to persuade him to give her new man a chance. "If I ever find Jesus, I'm kickin' his ass," he sings in a drawl as thick as the caked-on beer that covers the floors of the barrooms he spends much of his time in. Carll's steely twang recalls Steve Earle's, but where the Guitar Town vet gets there via Bruce Springsteen, Carll comes straight from the honky-tonks (plus, he's got a sense of humor). The sturdy, tuneful Trouble in Mind is populated with drunken poets, sweet magnolia, and folks with "bad livers and broken hearts." And guys just looking to brawl with the Son of God.

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