Trent Willmon

West Texas singer/songwriter Trent Willmon is likely one of the few honky-tonkers who actually wore a cowboy hat before he turned pro, and on his debut album he comes off more like a veteran than a ro

West Texas singer/songwriter Trent Willmon is likely one of the few honky-tonkers who actually wore a cowboy hat before he turned pro, and on his debut album he comes off more like a veteran than a rookie. The songs are a mixture of lightweight but fun party cuts ("Beer Man," the unfortunately titled barn burner "Dixie Rose Deluxe's Honky Tonk, Feed Store, Gun Shop, Used Car, Beer, Bait, BBQ, Barber Shop, Laundromat") and well-drawn, heartfelt fare ("Population 81," "Home Sweet Holiday Inn"). Willmon owns a sturdy baritone with a well-placed vocal catch; he brings muscle and confidence to pounding cuts like "She Don't Love Me" and the workin' man treatise "The Good Life." He also lends emotional weight to such deeper cuts as "The Wishing Well" and "Every Now and Then."—RW