Best Country Band 

The Bellyachers

Fabulous musicianship and stellar songwriting make Oakland's Bellyachers much more than just another alt.country band. The group's sound is part Bakersfield twang and part Texas honky-tonk, with lots of jangly rock guitar and a little Mexican-border influence. Frontwoman and bassist Sandra Mello has a confident, unassuming voice that will remind you of Loretta Lynn, but her lyrics are smarter, darker, and funnier. The Bellyachers never complain about a honky-tonkin' man who just won't stay home. In these songs, it's the gals who go out drinkin', fightin', and drivin' down long lonesome roads. Mello's tight, effortless harmonies with singer and rhythm guitarist Melody Baldwin-Baroz are powerful and mesmerizing, on stage and on CD. Rounding out the group are guitarist Brian Mello and drummer Peter Craft. The Bellyachers may be unsigned now, but probably not for long. They are shopping their just-finished Heavy in My Hands CD for a friendly record label.

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