The Bois d'Arcs have been around for a few years. The Muenster, Texas-based country rockers may have gone through some lineup changes, some growing pains, and even some down time. But through all of the trials, the music style that they refer to as "hard country" has survived, and is better than it ever was with the release of their new, self-itled EP.

First off, there's no point in categorizing the Bois d'Arcs into a musical genre. It's better that you just enjoy the music and leave the labeling to someone else. Just when you want to call these guys Southern Rock, they go Red Dirt. Then blues, before you find a honky tonk beat. But the music is so soulful...see what I mean? I know, it sounds like a mess the way I describe it, but the Bois d'Arcs not only manage to work all these musical influences into their songs, they do it brilliantly.

On the self-titled EP, lead singer Shane Wimmer makes his job sound easy. From the beginning of the opening track, 'So Far Away', he brings it. Not only does he possess a classic naturally rough, gravelly delivery, he has a soulful, melodic delivery.

'Bar Stool' fills honky tonk dance floors, I'm sure. And it's as ready for Texas country radio as anything. The lyrics are catchy and clever, tempo is right on, and the harmonies are solid. I love the chorus. Take a listen:

'When You Say Goodbye' is a ballad that shows Wimmer is more than just pop off a melodic note every once in a while. He brings it from start to finish. Not to be outdone, the great guitar solo from Bryant Hunter is a highlight of this song, too.The pla

The EP wraps up (all too soon) with 'How Long Will I Cry'. Wow. This song is perfect for just closing your eyes and letting it take you on an emotional trip.

Wimmer is the front man in the Bois d'Arcs, yes. But the whole band deserves kudos for this effort. Hunter, bassist Joe Rickwa, drummer Ian Desmuke and John Fredrick on keys make up a quintet that play with great talent and - equally important - chemistry. This band has shared the stage with the heavy hitters of the Texas music scene, and they belong. These guys are a professional-grade band.

My only problem with the Bois d'Arcs self-titled EP is, where's the rest of it? Four songs leaves me wanting more. What on this record is amazing, and I can't wait until there's more new music from these guys to enjoy. When you buy it, this could very well be the best five bucks you spend on music this year.