by Robert Bell
There's a new generation of country artists and fans who grew up absorbing just as much '90s alternative rock as they did George Strait, Garth Brooks or Willie, Waylon and the boys. For these folks, it's perfectly natural for a bit of crunchy electric guitar to cozy up next to the fiddle and lap steel. Exhibit A: Randy Rogers, who writes the kind of soaring, heartfelt tunes that are the perfect make-out music for truck cabs from Bakersfield to Tallahassee. Fellow traveler Wade Bowen's numbers have a smidge more radio polish than, say, Reckless Kelly, but they'll likely scratch a similar itch for fans of the Red Dirt rockers. The longtime buddies are rolling into town on their fifth annual Hold My Beer & Watch This tour, which gives the Texas troubadours a chance to drink suds, swap stories and showcase their songs in a stripped-down acoustic setting.