That Justin Townes Earle would begin his career in the shadow of other great songwriters was unavoidable; after all, his father is Steve Earle, and he carries the name of late Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
With her lilting voice and nerdy, girl-next-door looks, Ingrid Michaelson has charmed an audience and built a career around her good-girl appeal.
Known for their unpredictable, high-energy, country-fueled live performances, Kansas City band the Wilders more than lives up to its name.
It's been said before, but I don't mind repeating it: John Prine is a national treasure.
Kinky Friedman has said that "only Jews and cowboys can wear their hats indoors. Try to be one or the other." And Kinky should know.
The first track on the new Ryan Adams record opens quietly as Adams sings, "Last time I was here it was raining/It ain't raining anymore."
After a battle with lung cancer, a lot of singers might be tempted to retire, or to at least take it easy. Not Merle Haggard.
It's said that those who can do, and those who can't teach. Or they write about it, perhaps.
Underneath it all, beneath the punk veneer and attitude, I think X was always country band.