The Real Thing (Rodney Hayden)
This barely legal crooning cowpoke sticks to the traditional path (even when he’s covering Tom Waits). His lyrical imagery is by the book, his honky-tonkin’ is déjà-vu-inducing, and his voice is so akin to the Possum’s you could call him George Clones. Apparently considered ”too country” for Nashville, he released this debut on fellow Texan Robert Earl Keen’s new label. Sure, his hayseed style sounds genuine, but shouldn’t a 21-year-old take some songwriting risks?