The tragic 2007 shooting death of New Bohemians guitarist/keyboardist Carter Albrecht rocked the Dallas music scene. Albrecht was a well-liked and valued member of several bands, including the indie-pop outfit Sorta and the locally popular Sparrows. Playing alongside him in both groups was bassist Danny Balis , who recorded his solo debut, Too Much Living (self-released), in the wake of his friend’s passing. Though he’s likely better known in the Dallas area as the producer of the talk radio sports show The Hardline , for those who are familiar with only his indie-rock side, this album comes as a surprise: It’s a straight-up country and western recording. Far from being a genre dabbler, Balis is an uncanny natural. He pours his heart into these pitch-perfect melancholy weepers, which he sings in a deep baritone with just the right amount of twang. The sound is retro yet never derivative or saccharine; nothing here rings false. This modest CD may be destined for obscurity, but the songs, nine originals and one Townes Van Zandt cover, are real gems. In a perfect world, all of Nashville would be lining up to sing them.