On their debut, the Lucky Pierres gave us what they called cocktail country, a C&W-lounge hybrid not too distant from The Mavericks' "Music For All Occasions." This time out, the music is based in unalloyed country, from the hard shuffle of the lead-off tune "Jacksboro Highway" to the two-step of "Cheap Thrill" to the slow balladry of "Stray." That's not to say that the band doesn't take a few side trips off that main road, however, as on the cowpunky "Cry Or Bawl" and the acoustic country of "Till the End of the World Rolls Round."
What raises their efforts above your standard-issue honky-tonk is some ear-catching songwriting (check out "Together At Last" or "You On Fire"), as well as touches like the Tijuana horns on "Jacksboro Highway," the steel work of Kim Herriage, the band's instrumental multi-tasker, on "Cheating Is Going Round," the harmony dueting on "Never Turn Around" and a smoldering take on Wanda's Jackson's "Right or Wrong." Oh, and lead vocalist Michelle Pittenger's singing doesn't hurt, either. (E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Box 227351, Dallas, TX 75222-7351)