THREE STARS for Trouble In Mind
Religion is a regular theme in country music, but it isn't often you hear a country singer vowing to administer a beating to Christ, as Hayes Carll does in "She Left Me For Jesus." Carll isn't being blasphemous; he's simply singing smart, funny lyrics from an anguished character's point of view. The raspy-voiced Texan comes off as good-natured throughout this third album, playing music that's somewhere between alt-country, Nashville, honky-tonk and bluegrass. Even when Carll covers a Tom Waits song, "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," he makes it sound like pure Americana twang.
Playing Thursday, April 24, at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, Chicago.
KEY TRACK: "Drunken Poet's Dream"