Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams play retro country better than just about anybody in these parts, and their live shows feature covers of old favorites by the likes of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams and George Jones. For this debut studio album, however, the band has wisely chosen to focus on its superb original material. (There's not a cover in sight.) Most of the disc's twelve songs, including such gems as "ABC" and "Little Sue," come from the pen of lead singer Wofford, with guitarist Kevin Yost and steel guitarist Bret Billings also contributing strong numbers. It's infectious stuff, from the bouncy rockabilly of Wofford's "Bye Bye Baby" to the tear-in-your-beer wail of Yost's "Long Gone." The Hi Beams (let's not forget bassist Ben O'Connor and drummer Justin Greville) are a tight and talented bunch, but Wofford's twangy, heartfelt tenor is the star attraction. (Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams perform Friday, May 9, at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins; see www.hibeams.com.)
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