First time out, Trick Pony served up radio-friendly excitement with just the right amount of beer-soaked edge, and the exuberant trio takes that concept up a big notch with its sophomore WB release.

First time out, Trick Pony served up radio-friendly excitement with just the right amount of beer-soaked edge, and the exuberant trio takes that concept up a big notch with its sophomore WB release. Impressive Heidi Newfield vocals and a crafty mix by helmsman Chuck Howard power such driving fare as the title cut and the backwoods boogie "Hillbilly Blues," and they deliver a reverb-laced soulful twang on "Nobody Ever Died of a Broken Heart." Later, they achieve a sense of urgency on such fine modern-era country as the insistent "I'm Not Thinkin' Straight Anymore," the Hammond-fueled "Leavin' Seems to be the Goin' Thing" (with a kickin' fiddle break), and wailing "A Boy Like You" (with Keith Burns vocal), then Newfeld shows a winning way with a ballad on mood-inducing stuff like "Love Be Still" and "Rain." Newfield's smoky vocal on Willie Nelson's classic "Whiskey River," with Nelson on board, works like, well, a shot of whiskey. Meanwhile, the sparse, spare "The Devil and Me," with vocals by Ira Dean, could and should be a sleeper hit. A perfect blend of old-school attitude and contemporary flair, we should all just stand back and let this Pony run.—RW