Art is never safe, and Indiana songwriter Rand Reynolds is dead set on proving this with every cd he records. This particular collection of Hillbilly Noir is primarily minimalist songs trimmed down to the bone with tight well-timed boomer acoustic guitar rhythms. Reynolds' material accents an underlying darkness with a stark twang. Not only is AmericanX groundbreaking in style and character, but the songs are, quite simply, kick ass. Reynolds' strong suit is in his graphic brutal lyrics set to disguised "country-ish" tunes which are, in fact, tastefully twisted acoustic indictments of his own misfortunes, mistakes and mayhem. Reynolds' hallmark punch and drive in AmericanX submerges listeners back into the human abyss lit by sparks of compassion and understanding that he seems intent on exposing, then championing. This cd, however, does show a gentler softer side at times, and one suspects that Reynolds is still a closet romantic at heart, in spite of his self-admonishing warnings. Truly unique Americana music from this Midwestern artist. Includes artwork.