Conjuring up sweeping panoramas of dusty astral plains and the allure of whiskey-laden honky tonks, Western Terrestrials are the kind of wry, unconventional outsiders country music could get used to. In their latest release, Back in the Saddle of a Fever Dream, the Vermont-based group accomplishes a tricky feat: threading the needle between paying homage to classic country, and forging their own brand of unapologetic, hard-driving cosmic American music.

Only Western Terrestrials could mingle references to Blade Runner, Armageddon, and the leader of the Green Mountain Boys with the bonafide twang of country guitar and sway of pedal steel and make it work. Their love of country tradition is real and deep, with hints of their heroes Roger Miller, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. Yet Western Terrestrials’ take on country music is deliberately left of center, more in line with alt-country troublemakers like JP Harris and Sarah Shook & The Disarmers. The sounds of gospel, cowpunk and rock n roll meld in happily defiant cohabitation alongside true country grit.

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