Terry Allen

If you think Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks and their ilk invented alternative country, get better headphones — and a history book. Way back in 1979, Terry Allen released Lubbock (On Everything), an album that stood the straight-music world — particularly the moronic, pasteurized country world — on its ear. Compared to what passed for country back then, Allen's song suite was as alternative as a Southern Baptist convention at a gay bar. With vicious wit and irreverent insight, he turned his scathing inner eye on everything from dumbass fundamentalists to the art scene he knows oh so well: "You better look good, you better look right, 'cause the art mob's out tonight." Allen has since been covered by an amazing array of artists — Little Feat, Robert Earl Keen, Cracker, Virgil Shaw — and collaborated on film projects with former Talking Head David Byrne. Don't be surprised if Allen gets a little surly or smashes his piano; it's art, after all, and Allen paints with more than just brushes.

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