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Various Artists

Edges from the Postcard 3 – 1999 (Hayden's Ferry)

Reviewed by Rachel Leibrock

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Starting out with a promising enough bang, "Edges From the Postcard 3" unfortunately fizzles and sputters through the better part of its 18 tracks, giving off few sparks or flashes of inspiration. Amassing various artists associated with the notorious Postcard 2 e-mail list and its associated Twangfest - held annually in St. Louis - "Edges" is a friendly enough little compilation, which means there's little bark and no bite.

The first three tracks are engaging: "The Rate of Exchange" a snappy gem by the Coal Porters, the '40's-era country swing of Hillbilly IDOL's "It All Depends on You" and the Appalachian twang of One Fell Swoop's "Water's Deep." From there, however, matters get a little messy. Wooden Leg's "Your Best Friend" is a misguided trolling expedition into gothic gloom while Hayseed's "Cold Feet" is a gaudy tavern rumbler that elicits a yawn instead of drunken thrills. Elsewhere "I Feel Better (Since You're Gone") by Jim Stringer & the Austin Music Band embodies the bottommost of country music values marrying machismo with cheap rhymes. Bright spots include the Meat Purveyor's chilly "Hanged Man" and Hot Club of Cowtown's Elana Fremerman's blistering fiddle work on "The Devil's Dream" (performed in whole by Mark Rubin & His Ridgetop Syncopators). Kelly Kessler's rustic croon on "Well of Tears" is cool yet soothing and "Gear-Jammin' Daddy" by the Ex-Husband's rollicks with boot-stompin' flair.

Ultimately, however, this delivers more picturesque postcard - scenic yet uninteresting - than the edge alt.country is supposed to deliver.