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Baker Maultsby

Bingo = Sin – 1999 (Maultsby-Cooper Music)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Baker Maultsby

It used to be that people who wrote country music wrote about what they knew, what they saw every day - farms or maybe factories during the week, bars or church on the weekend. That's why there was such a big difference between the indigenous music of the Louisiana delta and the hills of Tennessee. Now thanks to Wal-Mart and McDonald's all of America looks pretty much alike, and the music has lost its sense of place.

You can fight this homogenization of the American landscape, or ignore it, like most country singers do today. Or you can do what Baker Maultsby does - celebrate it, revel in it. "We got four Wal-Marts in the tri-county area.../A new Burger King so our kids get jobs/We don't need you big city snobs." ("Four Wal-Marts") Then, you can dig down beneath the asphalt and neon and rediscover what makes your neck of the woods unique, whether it's local cuisine ("Fatback and Egg on Bun") or local dens of iniquity ("Bingo = Sin")

Maultsby's home is the upstate of South Carolina, and his love for this area shines through on every song. You can almost see the foothills and smell the red clay. Your home may be different, but whatever its virtues, faults and idiosyncrasies, you'll probably appreciate it more after listening to Baker Maultsby. (107 Monroe Road, Spartanburg, SC 29307, 864-585-6916)