In a recent mash note to Music City, Bobby Bare Jr. sings, "The greatest living guitar pickers can deliver you a pizza or sell you weed." He doesn't namecheck Tim Carroll
, but he doesn't have to. Carroll, who grew up in West Terre Haute, Indiana, has long been an also-ran in Nashville. He's an underachiever, but not for lack of talent: His guitar playing has Robbie Robertson's wicked harmonic sting, his songs have been covered by John Prine and Robbie Fulks, and he regularly appears on the Grand Ole Opry as a sideman to his spectacularly Dolly-esque wife, Elizabeth Cook. Carroll's most recent album, If I Could
, is a detailed and revealing X-ray of alt-country and songs like "Punk Rock Honky Tonk Girl" and "I Think Hank Woulda Done It This Way" make it clear from which side of Music Row he's coming.