This rootsy troubadour suggests an amped Bruce Springsteen fronting a versatile Texas roadhouse band.
Choice cut: "Dylan's Hard Rain"
Area gig: July 13, Varsity Theater, Mpls.
Steve's long, tall son is a charmer in his own right, with a vaudevillian's panache onstage and an eye for detail and a sense of humor in songs.
Choice cut: "Mama's Eyes"
Area gigs: Aug. 23-25, Oneida Casino, Green Bay, Wis.
The songs on this husband-and-wife duo's "The Life of a Song" are delightfully old-school country in an Emmylou Harris kind of way -- even "Free Bird."
Choice cut: "Sweet Emmylou."
Area gigs: Sat. at Country Fest, Cadott, Wis.; July 12, Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo, N.D.; Aug. 7, We Fest, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Aug. 27-28, Minnesota State Fair.
A sensitive outlaw with a louder-than-Waylon voice reflects on divorce, drugs and drinking in 2008's most intriguing country album, "The Lonesome Song."
Choice cut: "In Color"
Area gig: Sat. at Country Fest, Cadott, Wis.; July 19, Mayo Park, Rochester
This 22-year-old Alabaman sounds like Taylor Swift's restless older sister.
Choice cut: "Takin' Off This Pain"