Philip Gibbs The Petroleum Age

Fans of Texan country-folk would do well to check out this, the fourth album from Austin, TX-based troubadour Gibbs. His mellow, versatile voice may lack the grit and gravitas of such fellow Texans as Steve, Townes, Lyle and Joe, but it's a fine vehicle for his literate compositions. Talented musicians featured include Will Sexton and co-producers Stephen Doster and John Hill. The title track is a breezy, but pointed, look at our lethal addiction to oil, while "Stephen F. Austin's Blues" delves into the Texan history, which has deep roots in Gibbs's family. One album highlight, "In the Middle of the Evening," has a neo-rockabilly feel, the similarly strong "Cold Comfort of Being Blind" is muscular country-rock and "Silver Dust" has a dustbowl folk vibe. "30 Minutes at the Station" is boosted by rollicking harmonica and female backing vocals, while sparse and haunting ballad "I Didn't Notice" closes the proceedings nicely. (Independent)