Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys - "Forever Always Ends"
Bloodshot Records

Shania and Garth this ain’t. Rex Hobart and his accompanying Misery Boys are not the twangy pop that passes for country music these days. Forever Always Ends is the sort of old-school country that makes you alternately want to fight or cry.

The album covers both the boot stomping honky-tonk variety of country (ie- "I Always Cry at Weddings"), as well as the crying tears in your beer sort of tune (ie- "I'll Never Sleep It Off") that everyone can relate to - country fan or otherwise. My only gripe is that nearly every song falls into one of those two catagories and the album suffers from a lack of 'middle ground'. For the most part, this album is either rocking or napping.

If anything, it suffers from being too laid-back. It kicks off strongly enough, but there isn't another kick-up-your-heels tune after that until "Between A Rock and a Heartache," five tracks later. The dancin’ songs are for the most part relegated to the back half of the disc, and could have been spread more judiciously over the whole album.

My only other gripe was regarding the mix - specifically the steel. It was in the forefront on far too many songs, and even got in the way of a few, most notably "I Walked In While He Was Changing Your Mind," which would have worked more effectively for me with just the drums and acoustic guitar of the intro carried throughout.

Having gotten these minor complaints off my chest, I should remind you that I really enjoyed this CD. There are moments where I really smiled and enjoyed the songwriting and musicianship. "Make Me Hate You Before I Go" is a perfect break-up song, with a lovely little lonesome whistle in the middle. And the rousing "Losing Combination" closes out the album on an upbeat note.

Put Forever Always Ends in your CD player on shuffle, and this disc is well worth the price. And unlike most of your collection, this one will never go out of style.