Here's a switch -- a singer from Tennessee who leaves the land of Jack Daniel's, Graceland, and Dollywood to record country music. That's Roger Wallace, who started his musical journey as a blues lover, and whose reason for migrating from Knoxville to Austin was to check out the city's blues scene. Bringing along a borrowed tape of Hank Williams, however, made Wallace aware that the best country music has its own brand of soul.
It didn't take long for him to become a convert and begin applying his forceful baritone and eclectic songwriting to "the white folks' blues." Now, three CDs of unrelenting twang later, Wallace is keeping the heartache-and-honky-tonk classic country alive. Call him retro if you must, but on his latest album, The Lowdown, Wallace sounds more like he's maintaining tradition rather than reviving it.