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Best Country Band (Alternative) 

Caleb Travers and Big City Lights

His Ryan Adams jones shows, but so do his good nature, ambition and talent. Travers is pushing all of 25 and his band, including veteran pedal-steel whiz Scott Swartz of the Linemen, is pushing this son of south city toward more than just Telecaster strumming and dirt-road divining. His band can play it Stonesy, Byrdsy and Whiskeytowny without ever sounding dated or in denial over how much room they have for growth. Travers sings with wiry strength, with an inviting slur and unfaked Midwestern drawl, and his songs get their hooks in, indirectly echoing pure country-rock, whether from the Eagles or Buffalo Springfield. Travers and band are currently finishing up their first EP. It promises to be the twang fix a flagging alt-country scene needs.

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