When I started listening to this stuff back in the late 90's I was a pretty dedicated punk rocker, and if you'd have told me at that time that in 10 years I'd be hosting a country music oriented show I'd probably have choked on my beer and told you to p*ss off. But, to quote Bob Wills among others, "Time Changes Everything". What I really like about Alt-country though is still actually the punk parts of it, where the same ingredients; the sex, drugs, death, loss, longing and alienation, are all rolled in together with a touch of twang and a DIY ethic that even the best of punk rockers would have to nod along to.
One of those punk rockers has been John Doe, who's solo career after the seminal LA punk band X has had all those ingredients and often explored country styled genres most notably in the Knitters an early attempt to blur the punk rock / country divide. Doe's most recent solo offering "Forever Hasn't Happened Yet" released in 2005 is a bluesy, country-folk album with Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf in mind and one that pulls on a number of substantial musical guests (Dave Alvin, Grant-Lee Phillips, Neko Case, Kristin Hersh, Doe's daughter Veronica Jane, Excene Cervenca) to make one of the top CDs of last year. I've been playing selections off this CD for quite some time now, including the track I played last night called "Twin Brother" (for a full playlist see Casa de Country Mike.)
You can find out more about Doe and listen to a couple of tracks from Forever Hasn't Happened Yet here: http://www.theejohndoe.com/