Nothing should be clearer than the line between alternative country and commercial country, but the roots of twang are twisted if nothing else. You could trace the twining back to Brooks & Dunn's classic, hard-kicking Red Dirt Road, or you could just turn up the latest offering from Shooting With Annie, the most successful and professional of St. Louis' left-of-center country bands. The band hit its honky-tonk stride on 2010's Grapestains, a lavishly produced collection that swings with horns and pedal steel, rages with Southern-rock guitars and muscular rhythms and then sneaks in some banjos and dobros to keep the band's hard-twang credentials up to snuff. Shooting With Annie is still too punk-minded for Nashville, but that's Music City's loss. Onstage, the band sounds big and bold enough to open for any country-rock band in the world.
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