by Pat Moran
St. Louis singer-songwriter Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Oxford, Miss., drummer-producer Andrew Bryant formed the heartland duo Water Liars on a whim, recording their debut LP Phantom Limb over three days with a single microphone. So it's no surprise that their oeuvre lands smack dab at the crossroads of blues, country and folk. Despite the occasional squall of Melvins-styled sludge, Water Liars' songs are played simply, relying on visceral emotion, the duo's intuition and the twin specters of lonely nights and precious mementos left behind. Kinkel-Schuster's compositions have a lived-in feel, nodding to Appalachian rocker Hasil Adkins, The Replacements' Paul Westerberg, acid folk man Skip Spence and Neil Young stumbling "out of the blue and into the black." Since the group takes its name from Mississippi writer Barry Hannah's best-known short story, Faulkner-esque tomes from Flannery O'Connor's Christ-haunted South pull predictably on their sensibilities. Unexpected is a quote from British occultist and Great Beast 666 Aleister Crowley that kicks off the austere hymn "It is Well." Behind Water Liars' veil of grounded familiarity lurks a glimpse of the undiscovered country. With Miami Dice, Mechanical River and Callisto. $5. Nov. 30, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St. 704-333-9799.