Save the Beavis and Butt-Head jokes, OK? Michael and Dyann Woody have heard them all. They've been making left-of-Music-Row country records as The Woodys
since 1998 but have steered clear of the humorlessness that plagues too many Americana acts though there's nary a punch line on their 2005 album, Telluride to Tennessee
. When they harmonize, they give memory-burdened motifs a paradoxical, lonesome gaiety. They may rock-&-roll name-drop all over "Bop Shebang," but they earn their references without an electric guitar in sight (and their résumé includes working with Steve Earle, Chris Hillman and Emmylou Harris). When they take on standards like Gram Parson's "Sin City" or Lefty Frizzell's "That's the Way Love Goes," they make the frequent George & Tammy or Conway & Loretta comparisons sound like more than hype.