Dark as midnight and mean as a rattlesnake, A Pretty Good Guy perfectly captures the undercurrent of menace in rural America and its hair-trigger nobodies.

Dark as midnight and mean as a rattlesnake, A Pretty Good Guy perfectly captures the undercurrent of menace in rural America and its hair-trigger nobodies. For example, the title-cut character tries to persuade himself that he isn't so bad, as does the redneck loser-turned-murderer of "Becky's Bible." A fistfight is as good a diversion as any in "Oil Patch Town," and a brother's vengeance is skillfully delivered in the ominous "Down the River." Singer/songwriter Chris Knight recalls John Prine in the beautifully written, desperate "Send a Boat"; "Hard Candy" is a vivid characterization of a resourceful hillbilly girl, and "North Dakota" is regretful and claustrophobic. Dan Baird's production and guitar contributions lend a nice edge, placing emphasis right where it belongs—on these stark, gritty songs, and this gifted artist.—RW

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print