In Lubbock, Texas, there's an expression: "Anywhere is walking distance if you have time." Given the never-ending flatness and unblocked sky that dominates the western stretch of the Lone Star State, it seems better to forgo walking altogether and just drive -- double-clutching like a bat out of hell. Then again, all of that eerie, dust-bowl desolation must have done something for Lubbock's golden boy, Buddy Holly -- not to mention a neo-traditionalist six-piece called Thrift Store Cowboys. Bucking Nashville's stodgy music establishment to embrace the wide-open spaces, the Cowboys blend quiet electric guitars, pedal steel, fiddles and occasional mariachi beats into a brand of mirage-inducing Americana that recalls Chris Isaak and Calexico. Touring in support of their second full-length, The Great American Desert (which Rex Hobart hailed as "spooky punky-tonk"), the Cowboys ruminate on the lonely side of the barbed wire: where the old cafe burned to the ground, where time stands still, where the city looks pretty from the prison tonight.