At his best, BAIN MATTOX
is a little scratchy, way boyish and really, really earnest. And left to his own devices -- his voice, his banjo, his mandolin, his accordion -- he shines. He opens for bands like Jump, Little Children and Sister Hazel, as long as he keeps writing simple, stunning, sad songs like "Rice Paper Heart" and "Peripheral People," he'll maintain both mainstream and indie cred. And as long as he stays unpolished, this doe-eyed, mop-haired, wide-smiling songster will always be a gem.