“It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)”

    Given that Matthew Houck, a.k.a. Phosphorescent, has spent the bulk of his recorded output to date in a somnolent honky-tonk haze, it’s a little surprising to learn that the first taste of his upcoming LP sounds more Exile on Main Street than Master and Everyone. “It’s Hard to Be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)” thumps with saucy horns, silvery steel guitars, and barroom piano, and Houck has shed some of his Will Oldham-esque tremble for a style of singing that a little bit more oomph to it. Even with its jubilant stomp, the song will probably never nudge “Sweet Home Alabama” from its position as the Yellowhammer’s State unofficial anthem, but at least Houck is from Alabama, which is more than any of those Lynyrd Skynrd (origin: Jacksonville, Fla.) dudes can say.