In many ways, Warmth & Beauty
is Thad Cockrell's
debut album. In a true story that is now a staple of alt.country mythology, Cockrell headed into the studio years ago with Chris Stamey to cut a one-day demo, leaving with Stack of Dreams
, an EP Cockrell sold locally, before distributing it as a proper record with the help of mail-order label Miles of Music. But now, Cockrell is signed to Yep Roc Records with a near-perfect full-length under his belt, playing equally on his own stellar songwriting and an all-star cast of friends (namely, Stamey, Tift Merritt, Caitlin Cary, Michael Krause, Zeke Hutchins, John Teer, Jen Gunderman and Brandon Bush). Cockrell mixes it up, relying on the sounds of mid '90s Southern rock (a la laconic Cravin' Melon) for the disc's beginning, and genuinely scholastic country for the closing third of the 12-track feat. But Cockrell--graced with one of the warmest, best voices of any man who has claimed to sing country in the past decade--hits his peak in media res
thanks to a three-song suite that recalls sad-eyed "Pneumonia" beauty. That set of "Some Tears," "She Ain't No You" and "Breaking of a Day" are three perfectly written, bittersweet parcels of lost-without-you nostalgia, tearing at the heart and establishing Thad Cockrell--at last--as a songwriter to know. 10 p.m. 821-1120. $5.