Mark Allan Atwood is a classic hard working, hard playing Texas artist. He's been plugging away, playing anywhere that will let him, doing what he loves for he better part of three decades. Along with his band, Brimstone, Atwood serves up a unique sound to the Texas music landscape with the release of "Burned At The Crossroads".

First and foremost, it has to be said that most of this CD is not for those who wish to be sheltered from stories of hard living. For the most part, "Burned At The Crossroads" is a true outlaw country, smoking, drinking, opinionated tribute to a way of life that wouldn't get a stamp of approval by many preachers. Sure, there's the  ballad "Anyone Listening" that shares the softer side of Atwood's personality. But songs like the opening track, "Good Old Days", "And Whiskey" and "From The Water" are cut straight from the Willie, Waylon and Kris mold of the early Outlaw movement.

Atwood hits on his southern rock influences as well, with "Liar" holding on to a distinct Stevie Ray Vaughan influence with a clever piano solo twist from keyboardist Mitch Connell. "Strong Enough" is a songwriter's special that starts off outlaw, and finishes rock. You have to hear it to understand. But to mention the clear influences doesn't speak to the uniqueness of this CD. "Burned At The Crossroads" really has a feel that is all its own.

Vocally, this is the best I've heard Mark. I guess over the years, he has developed a depth to his voice that captures the emotion of each song on "Burned At The Crossroads". The entire CD is a solid body of work that Atwood, Brimstone, and producer Adam Odor should be proud of.

It's also worth mentioning that Mark Allan Atwood is himself an interesting character. He's never been one to mince words (or lyrics), and always has an opinion that makes for very interesting conversation. He also has an interesting story to tell. For all the years he's been running down gigs on Texas highways and backroads, "Burned At The Crossroads" is only Atwood's third studio album. He was given a Texas Music Award for "Rising Star" in 2010 (he was 48 at the time, ironically), and has continued to make improvements on his music and songwriting. And on top of his past, present, and future accomplishments, Mark is a really great guy. He supports fellow musicians like they are his brothers and sisters and lends his talents to charity events at the drop of a hat. In short, Mark Allan Atwood is a man of integrity.

You can either buy "Burned At The Crossroads" because it's a real good CD, or you can buy it because Mark is a real good guy. Take your pick.