The Warren Hood Band
Having already won Lyle Lovett's approval, The Warren Hood Band shows the rest of the world its natural talent on this Charlie Sexton–produced debut album. Hood began playing fiddle at age 11 and attended the Berklee College of Music, where he won the school's top honor, The String Achievement Award. He's since accompanied Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, and Gillian Welch. But here—with Sexton adding piano and guitars to the core trio of Hood, guitarist Willie Pipkin, and singer/pianist Emily Gimble—it's time for Hood to establish his identity. Hood wrote or cowrote nine of the 11 tracks. He instinctively knew that Gimble (who comes from the esteemed Johnny Gimble family) was the woman to give just the right bluesy touch to his songs, and her explosive take on "Take Me by the Hand" proves him right. Throw in Lloyd Maines on pedal steel, Nate Rowe on bass, and J.J. Johnson and Dony Wynn on drums, and you have an all-star cast.