- Tim Easton
While his address has changed, Easton's style hasn't. He blends rustic elements (finger-picked folk, bluegrass, and country-blues) with energetic bar-band rock, serving it up with an easy, corn-fed midwestern croon that subtly recalls Mellencamp. As of late, Easton has been exploring mid-tempo pop, particularly on 2003's critical breakthrough, Break Your Mother's Heart, which boasted such tracks as the pretty Elliott Smith-like ballad, "Hanging Tree," and the mandolin-laden ode to a working-class neighborhood, "John Gilmartin." Easton followed up that disc with last year's Ammunition, a highlight of which is "Dear Old Song & Dance," a stunning travelogue of substances abused that's told from the point of view of a lost lover: "Thanks for all the fun and the seven times in jail/I wish you all the best/Be sure to call me every now and then."