After a six-year break, Gary Stewart returned to recording for the Hightone label in Oakland, CA. Other than rocking a bit harder -- courtesy of guitar players Dale Sellers on lead and Allman Brother Warren Haynes on slide -- Stewart is not a shadow of his former self, but himself, period: namely, a bad-assed honky tonk singer/songwriter who delivers drinking songs better than anyone except Merle Haggard. And like the days of yore when albums like Out of Hand, Your Place or Mine, and Gary were released on RCA, Brand New is a collection of bar-slammin'' good-time rowdy honky tonk songs and broken, screwed-up love songs seen from the bottom of a glass. "Brand New Whiskey" feels like a Stewart rewrite of Guy Clark''s "Take Me to a Barroom," and is every bit as good; "I Owe It All to My Heart" is a sad country song in the best sense of the word. "Lucretia" is a rocker with echoes of Derek & the Dominos'' "Layla," done pub-style. Haynes is especially effective with his deliberate guitar histrionics. "Rainin'' Rainin'' Rainin''" is classic Gary Stewart, high, lonesome, the morning after, and recounting the tragedy to whoever will listen accompanied by a barroom piano and cut-time rhythm. "Looking for Some Brand New Stuff" and "Son of a Honky Tonk Woman" come out of the Jerry Lee Lewis fake book, with all the passion, psychosis, and dark piano-pumping fury. Ah, the classic country music; "I Get Drunk" is a track George Jones would have been proud to record first, but Stewart''s delivery is actually more believable. The set ends with "Murdered By Love," a romper-stomper blues jam with Haynes and Sellers tearing each other up and Stewart singing his ass off. Sending the listener into an oblivion of drink, lost love, and regret -- all recipes for a good night of wild partying you''ll regret the next day. A fine return.