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Dixie Lullabies by The Kentucky Headhunters

The Headhunters’ 1989 debut, Pickin’ on Nashville, marked a Southern-rock second coming of sorts with a reckless vigor unlike anything on Music Row. You might still catch a whiff of the Headhunters’ brawny backwoods brew in country’s current generation, though the band delivers it undiluted on its latest album, which finds four of the original members rocking as only country boys can.

This is not an album for fans of purebred twang—its charms arise from its almost-split personality, pairing Doug Phelps’ countrified baritone with Richard Young’s throaty yelp and tucking love- and faith-themed numbers between raunchier offerings. When the balance is at its best, you get standouts such as the supercharged shuffle “Sugar Daddy” and “In a Perfect World,” an energetic gem bearing a love-each-other message as relevant now as ever.

Indeed, the spirit of classic rock, from the Stones to Skynyrd, is alive here. If you’ve ever been worried that good old Southern-fried boogie is an endangered species, then Dixie Lullabies should help you rest a little easier.

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