hails from the Chicago suburbs, but he has kicked around the edges of the Nashville singer-songwriter scene long enough that he should have emeritus status at the Bluebird Café and the keys to Townes Van Zandt's gilded palace of imagination. Nanci Griffith, Janis Ian and Garth Brooks have recorded his songs, so he has a nest egg to make records such as the forthcoming The Edge of the World
. A temperate country-folk excursion into fretless bass licks and finger-picked acoustics, World
contains portraits of boys gazing at limitless skies, cowboys exiled from a vanished range, bodies sinking into muddy creeks and birds that fly with graceful "form and function" just like his smooth, soft voice and patiently poised songs.