At the dawn of the alt-Country movement, Blue Shirt Charlie garnered early attention purveying their brand of amped-up Americana in cities and towns along Central Texas' Brazos River. The band's staple—rootsy authenticity buoyed by pounding rhythms and effects-laden guitars—translated effortlessly between arty college rock stages and beer soaked honky-tonks. Lyrics rewarded repeated listens as weighty topics emerged, hinting influences as disparate as Elliott Smith, Steve Earle, early U2 and the Old 97's. The band—Richie Sessions, Russ Chapman, and Lex Lipsitz—reconvened in 2022 with themes of hope and renewal tempered by scar tissue from divorce, war deployments, and bolt-from-the-blue tragedies. New music slated for 2023 was born at Southern Comfort, a studio built inside the former Nashville home of outlaw country icon Waylon Jennings. Members of the outfit—now based in Tennessee—spent intervening years penning tunes for other artists (Wade Bowen), touring (Shooter Jennings/Stargunn), fronting side projects (Redneck Social Club, The Mars McClanes, Future Trips), and mining the studio with artists as diverse as Kid Ink and Sean Stemaly. These guys are good. -- I.P.T.