Does everything Steve Earle touch turn to gold? Last year, the somewhat-reformed outlaw singer/songwriter gave us the V-Roys, a very tight bar band that kicked - hard. Now, it's 6 String Drag, a band serving up equal amounts of honey and grits. Kenney Roby's voice growls and yearns in songs like "Elaine" and "Bottle of Blues."
Better still are tunes where both the words and the music bite down, like "Gasoline Maybelline," a song that sprints to the finish so quickly listeners will dive for the "repeat" button. Even more interesting is "Driven Man," in which Roby puts down a local girl, noting, "When your Grandpa died, they took his farm with a pen/Your new man uses a pen like them Don't fall in love with a driven man" and manages to evoke "Alison"-era Elvis Costello. "Cold Steel Brace" brings out the best in the group, enlisting sterling support from Rob Keller on bass, Scott Miller on guitars and organs and Ray Duffey on drums (Earle guests on one track). Some songs may be of the throwaway variety, but no matter: Get this band cooking, and the result is guitars, fiddles and Roby's sandpaper vocals melted together in one beautiful electrified snarl.