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Best Country Band 

Red Meat

If you're bored with the soft-rock hipsterism of alt.country and can't stand the absurd posturing of new country, give Red Meat a try. Like its namesake, this little country band (born in a garage in the Mission years ago, but currently 90 percent East Bay) feels like an all-American staple. Instead of puerile redneck anthems ready for a dance-floor remix, Red Meat traffics in the well-written narrative songs and tight instrumental accompaniment that are the time-honored provenance of good country music. The mixed vocal harmonies of Smelley Kelley, Scott Young, and Jill Olson will please fans of any persuasion, while Michael Montalto's guitar playing can either sweetly accompany or tear the roof off as the song requires. And of course, their songs cover classic country music themes like love, booze, broken-down cars, and twelve-inch, three-speed oscillating fans.

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