If the world is looking for another Don Williams, Max Stalling pretty much fits the bill. Stalling has stockpiled a clutch of songs that recall the Gentle Giant while cultivating an easygoing, good-ol'-boy-with-a-brain style that hones in on that Western-ish sweet spot between country and folk. In short, Stalling has the goods to appeal to a much wider audience than he has yet found (or that has found him). His new live album, Sellout, features most of his best-known songs -- "Wide Afternoon," "Comfort in the Curves," "Bass Run," "Scars and Souvenirs" -- but also includes choice deep cuts such as the mystical "Girl in the Lake"; the sensitive, ennui-filled ode to an old cowboy lost in the modern world, "Sparks"; and an angry paean to bummer gigs entitled "Probably Corsicana." Guitarist Dale Carter shines here, unleashing torrents of subtle licks before an appreciative crowd. A bit rough around the edges, Sellout provides an appropriate stopgap between Stalling's 2002 release One of the Ways and the eagerly awaited R.S. Field production recently recorded in Austin, which should be out before summer.
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