Rob Baird at Newby's 

Nashville and Austin are the twin capitals of country music, offering very different visions of what the genre should be. Rob Baird grew up in the middle, here in Memphis, where he graduated from Memphis University School. But as an aspiring country singer, the young man went west: attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and then settling into the Austin music scene. Baird's two proper albums since coming into his own — 2010's Blue-Eyed Angels and this spring's I Swear It's the Truth — are sturdy, increasingly confident batches of folk-country songcraft in the vein of such Texas songwriter faves as Robert Earl Keen or Jack Ingram. The new album was recorded in Austin with members of Hayes Carll's touring band. And while Baird doesn't yet show the wit of Carll — a current Texas-scene fave — his pedal-steel-driven sound and hooky songwriting could probably fit in well in Nashville too. This week, Baird splits the difference with a return home. Rob Baird plays Newby's on Thursday, August 23rd. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $5.


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