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The Star Room Boys -- Why Do Lonely Men and Women Want to Break Each Other's Hearts? (Checkered Past).  When lead singer Dave Marr admits "I've been all around/And I know how to be a woman's kind of man...", on the cd's title track, you know he's exploring dangerous territory.  In fact, there ain't a happy note on this entire disc, but it's a sublime adventure through the world of the brokenhearted.  The Star Room Boys are a straight-country honky tonk outfit from Georgia, featuring great pedal steel and lead guitar work driving the terrific songwriting.  The two guitarists often sound at odds, like petulent children sparring for attention.  But most of the songs are mid-to-slow tempo, and Marr's singing is somewhere between the pained howl of Richard Buckner and the stately tone of Merle Haggard, an obvious band influence.  So whatcha got here is serious drinking music.  "I can't believe I ever woke up without her here before" begins the cd's opening number, "Gastonia", a tale of woe in which our fearless protagonist hops in his car and goes looking for his girl as she drives (he thinks) to her hometown -- "But if she don't want to be found in that little redneck town I'll be cryin' to her mama when the sun goes down today."  Dangerous territory indeed, but a fun ride nonetheless.  Top Ten of 1999 Award Winner  -TRS.

Track listing:

1. Gastonia (4:51)
2. Was There Something in Her Eye? (3:21)
3. Both Our Towns (2:34)
4. It Belongs to You (3:13)
5. Why Do Lonely Men and Women Want to Break Each Other's Hearts? (3:33)
6. Souvenir (3:13)
7. New York City Isn't Going Anywhere (4:08)
8. The Liar in My Heart (3:33)
9. Foolish (5:03)
10. Tell Me About the Blues (3:55)
11. Almost Doesn't Count (4:27)
12. Blue Marie (2:56)
13. Someone's Playing Our Song (3:00)

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