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.