All over the country, there are cool music scenes being supported by cliquey little community radio stations like Dallas' KNON FM. It's certainly enough of a service for a radio station to playlist the calibre of artists appearing here, but it's another thing entirely to give them a forum and a microphone and the freedom to offer the naked beauty of these live acoustic in-studio appearances.The slightly muffled DIY quality of the recordings gives a true feeling of pioneer radio spirit, and there are plenty of standout performances that outshine the station's sonic limitations. Chip Robinson's solo spin on the Backsliders's "Abe Lincoln" has a Springsteenesque vibe, Slaid Cleaves' stripped down "No Angel Knows" betrays his Woody Guthrie jones, and Joe Pat Hennen's "Blame It On the 60s" could have come from Steve Forbert's songbook. Right in the middle comes Shaver's pared down "Thunderbird," which will now stand as Eddy Shaver's unintentional epitaph.
The 20 tracks that comprise KNON's Texas Renegade Radio come from the legendary (Kinky Friedman, Butch Hancock, Guy Clark) and the obscure (Four Mile Mule, Houston Marchman, Mulehead's Kevin Kerby), but each one is an unpolished diamond that defines the station as much as the artist. (KNON, P.O. Box 710909, Dallas, TX 75371)