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Already having generated a strong buzz in the Alt Country underground with their initial full-length release Faithless Street in 1995, Tobacco Road's Whiskeytown attained critical mass -- in the classic sense of the term -- two years later with their signature statement to date, Strangers Almanac. The record showcased a number of stylistic sides of the band, each staggeringly portrayed in a variety of songs: the Replacements-in-a-barn electricity of "Yesterday's News," the tear-soaked, pedal steel ennui of "Dancing With the Women at the Bar," the updated Stax soul of "Everything I Do" and the weary-eyed Crazy Horse stomp of "Losering." Bandleader Ryan Adams has the chance to become the premier songwriter of his generation if he doesn't self-destruct first, while violinist/vocalist Caitlin Cary provides sensitive counterpoint to Adams' frayed vocals and twisting guitar lines. Noted for their wildly inconsistent live performances and their rare ability to proffer rousing, near-Punk causticity alongside back-porch country sh*t-kickers without batting an ear, Whiskeytown toss stones into the stagnant Alt Country waters that had glassed over in the wake of Uncle Tupelo's 1994 demise.

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