Loaded with dissonant tones and some downright ugly tempo, Pretend It's the End of the World is like one of those hideous dogs you can't help but love. Bryan and the Haggards commit fully to the art of country-jazz (or is it jazz-country?) and cascade from two-beat grooves to noisy chaos with glorious ease.
Haggard tunes like "Lonesome Fugitive" and "Silver Wings" get the full treatment. The band even lets bassist Moppa Elliot out of his cage on "All of Me Belongs to You," a treat for Bob Wills.
Am I a redneck? Who the hell knows? Who the hell cares? Sitting with my face to the sun and my eyes on a floppy-eared doggy that wanders on the property from time to time, I can't help but grin like a big damn idiot. Pretend It's the End of the World shows us that some things, like Haggard's outlaw charm, defy stereotypes.