It takes skill to take a moribund genre and breathe fresh life into it — especially without breaking any ribs. The Kentucky-via-Illinois twang rock machine that is State Champion applies admirable strength and passion into this collection, leader Ryan Davis’ urgent bark prodding the rest of the band to keep up as they build songs designed to lead them out of this dead-end dump and off to some Springsteen-esque better place. Born to Run/Darkness-era Boss isn’t an out of place comparison, though the fiery Midwestern spark of early Uncle Tupelo also comes to mind. This is the music of a man who cares, and who probably has a thick beard. Though Bob Seger is still able to rock the Bucket, State Champion is a band you want to push up against in a small bar, sweating out the work week through your flannel. This is what rock ’n’ roll is all about, something that can bond a pissed-off teen and my 55-year-old Uncle Kenny at the same time.