The Amazing Rhythm Aces, who rang up several hits in the mid-'70s, are often described as a country-rock band, but the slinky syncopation they brought to Nashville made them more of a country-soul band. Their biggest hits, "Third Rate Romance" and "Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song)," were clever comedy tunes, but they had a serious core that enabled them to endure much longer than the usual novelty numbers. The Aces broke up in 1981, but they reunited in 1995 and have now released their third post-reunion album, "Chock Full of Country Goodness," which boasts the same qualities that made them so likable in the first place.
Lead singer Russell Smith is the chief songwriter, and he still comes up with songs that disarm the listener with their jokey affability and hum-along melodies. He pokes irreverent fun at country fans and musicians on songs such as "Jerry Fontaine & His Jammin' Guitar," "Yippie-Yi-Yo-Yo" and "Rednecks Unplugged." Behind the punch lines, though, lies an empathy that redeems the songs. And behind the empathy is a slithery Memphis beat that's the best possible tribute to founding drummer Butch McDade, who died last year of cancer.
Appearing Friday at the State Theatre. To hear a free Sound Bite from the Amazing Rhythm Aces, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8121. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)