The Dalhart Imperials

If there's a tear in your beer, you won't find it here: While the Dalhart Imperials honor the original style of country music -- as opposed to the crispy kind offered up by pretty chicks in half shirts -- even the CD's slowest ballad is likely to get your foot tappin'. Honoring the old icons such as Hank Williams the First, Finally! uses the genre's eleven herbs and spices for a delicious blend of old-timey Americana and newfangled swingin' delight. Those who've been hankering for the golden days -- or just the sounds -- of elemental country and Western will get a family-sized helping on this disc.

Relying on freshness and using only quality ingredients, the Imperials pack their platter with a satisfying buffet of self-penned tracks. And on the two covers offered, there's nary a hint of being left under the heat lamp. From the opening notes of "Saddle Up" to the hidden closer, the traditional riffs and you-swear-it's-familiar tunes blend conventional seasonings into new combinations. Sporting classic cowboy style infused with a Brian Setzer-type twist, each selection maintains a distinct flavor while flowing seamlessly into the next; in fact, you'll be hard-pressed to identify which credits belong to the Dalharts. From the first listen through the 1,000th spin, Finally is finger-lickin' good (


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