Far ahead of you, you see mountains. Directly ahead of you, you see a gas meter teetering dangerously close to empty. But you're so happy, you don't even care. On the stereo, a band plays a tune just as ramshackle as your trip. That band is These United States.
In a word, These United States' music is fun. Perfect for those who like a hefty dollop of country served up with their alternative rock (here's looking at you, Wilco fans), the band -- based out of Washington, D.C. and Lexington, Ky. -- has a diverse repertoire. The group released its first album, A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden, in 2008. Its most recent, What Lasts, launched in July of 2010.
While "The Great Rivers" smacks of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Honor Amongst Thieves" is a modern take on honky-tonk, and "One You Believe" offers a grittier version of the band's style. Although these songs are vastly different from one another, they share the common musical threads (including Jesse Elliot's compelling vocals) that make up These United States' sound.