Buster Blue 

When the Silver's Gone

No music will make you feel 30 faster than alt-country. Arguably the most vital micro-genre between 1995 and 2005, it started with bored punks throwing up to Gram Parsons and ended in child-friendly outdoor festivals, just like you did. Somewhere in there—I personally put it at Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—it diverged into two subspecies: easy listening and Americana.

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Buster Blue's When the Silver's Gone is of the second type, with fewer drums and a better chance of minor-key accordion in any given song. This is certainly the more authentically country strain of alt-country, but authenticity poses a problem. Buster Blue should not sound like Appalachian moonshiners, because they are from Reno. When they sing about a stillborn child reporting for Judgment Day on "Rise Up," they are five good musicians mostly capturing a life they wish they knew.

I would rather hear the Reno. There remains plenty of child-raising and home-missing and beers/tears in the present day, and Buster Blue probably knows that life better than the gothic cutouts that populate When the Silver's Gone. Alt-country may be old, but the country is still here. It's worth singing about, too.

Buster Blue plays the Top Hat Friday, June 17, at 10 PM with Javier Ryan. $5.

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