Fingerpistol

Young and Beautiful (Avery International)

Texas Platters

Fingerpistol

Young and Beautiful (Avery International)

Goofy old high school yearbook photos are a fleeting novelty until you're in one of them. That's about the time when sentimental amalgams of country and classic rock start to make more sense. As the cover art suggests, the title track of Fingerpistol's second album dives straight into that treacherous wellspring and comes out squeaky clean on account of singer-songwriter (and forever Chronicle staffer) Dan Hardick's sure-footed baritone and lyrical economy. From the struggling single mom of "Two Strong Arms" to the grizzled beer-light troubadour of "Old Promises," Young and Beautiful is heavy with hard-luck character studies, but it works because Fingerpistol keeps them straightforward and honest. "Sadness and Pain" detours into Todd Snider territory with its spoken-word verses about a lonely cancer survivor before closer "Wake the Dead" revives its namesake colloquial phrase with rocking urgency. Despite all its middle-aged longing, Young and Beautiful remains a refreshing tonic to relentless maturity.

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