Deke's latest romp, Rhythm, Rhyme and Truth, sidesteps the flashy solos that dominated his last couple of records in favor of solid songwriting. Highlights include "Give Me a Brunette," a chick-watching song written in response to the countless ditties fetishizing redheads and blondes, and the hilariously macabre "Where to Aim," in which Deke ponders whom to shoot -- his ex-girlfriend or himself. As on earlier albums, guest stars abound: The Calvanes, an old-time doo-wop group that shares Dickerson's affinity for the kind of '50s sounds that never made it onto the American Graffiti soundtrack, make a particularly choice appearance.
This Friday, Dickerson shares the stage with local Americana act Red Meat, whose new album explores the outer reaches of the country novelty song. Produced by roots-rock guru Dave Alvin of the Blasters, Alameda County Line is the brightest and sleekest Red Meat album to date, capitalizing on the band's pop sensibilities and considerable chops.