By Chuck Arnold Ralph Novak Jessica Herndon V.R. PETERSON
August 28, 2006 12:00 PM

If You’re Going Through Hell


While Atkins’s tenor is pleasant enough (if a bit nasal), he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, as evidenced on his overcooked No. 1 country hit “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows),” the title cut of his third CD. He is a little wittier on “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy),” about a father sending his daughter and her date off with a promise that “I’ll be up late, cleaning this gun.” But “About the South” is a lazy recycling of Phil Harris’s more clever ’40s hit “That’s What I Like About the South.”

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Cleaning This Gun”

Landon Pigg LP

Landon Pigg proves that geography isn’t everything. He hails from the country-music capital of Nashville, but he follows in the moody Brit-pop tradition of Coldplay and Radiohead. Pigg displays a keen sense of melody to go along with the melancholy on his full-length debut. First single “Can’t Let Go” juxtaposes bright guitars and bummed-out lyrics (“I can’t move on from the past/Without lifting a finger you’re holding me back”) delivered with Pigg’s aching, falsetto-tinged vocals. Other highlights include the sweetly atmospheric “Keep Looking Up” and the near-flawless “Perfectionist,” a dreamy ballad on which Pigg gives Coldplay and the other blokes something to brood about.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Perfectionist”