AN EARLY ENTRANT FOR BEST OF THE YEAR

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Those who've heard the intoxicating wail of Sonny Landreth in concert couldn't be blamed if they were left hungry by his 2000 release "Levee Town," which was true to his Louisiana roots but lacked the thrill they had experienced live. They'll get their fill from "The Road We're On," a bounty of bottleneck slide guitar that is rich with the twang of the National guitar and laced with electricity throughout. Landreth's past includes stints with the zydeco champion Clifton Chenier and blues baron John Mayall, and grit from both those paths bolsters this disc. The tune "Natural World" stands out, not only for the drive that starts a few bars in and never stops, but for its environmentalist angst - Sonny does politics? The lyrics on "Gemini Blues," which Landreth says is about a menage a trois, also shine, but it's the Coricidin-spiked sound that makes this perhaps Landreth's best work yet, and guarantees that "The Road We're On" will be among the best guitar work of 2003.