David Davis & The Warrior River Boys. “Two Dimes & A Nickel.” Rebel Records. 12 tracks.

“Two Dimes & A Nickel” just might be the darkest bluegrass album of 2009.

It’s also one of the best.

There’s not much happiness in these dozen songs, but there’s some great picking and singing.

And Owen Saunders plays the lonesomest fiddle this side of a graveyard.

David Davis has been leading the Warrior River Boys since 1985. But for years, he was a Bill Monroe disciple — singing tenor, not lead, and sticking to the traditional songs from the early years of bluegrass.

He still dresses like Monroe — and resembles him somewhat.

But with the band’s self-titled debut on Rebel Records in 2004, Davis began finding his own voice — a voice that ranks among the best in bluegrass.

He moved to the lead singer spot in the band and he discovered a penchant for new — or newish — story songs.

The band’s 2006 “Troubled Times” continued the evolution and made quite a few “10 Best” lists for the year.

It was filled with murder ballads, Civil War songs, songs about coal mines and songs about natural disasters.

Fans had to wonder if the next album could be as good.

Oh, yeah. And then some.

Men are waiting to hang for murder in “I’ve Been All Around This World,” the title cut and “I Can Hear Daddy Play The Fiddle.”

In “The Brambles, Briars and Me,” the singer has murdered his best friend and his cheating wife — and gotten away with it.

In “Hard Times,” his wife has left and taken everything he had.

“The Tennessee Line” finds the singer going back home with nothing left but his guitar and one change of clothes — after his parents have died.

“The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” is a hard-driving tune. But it finds the singer wanting the train to wreck so he can shoot the man who took his woman away.

“Broken Promises” finds him going back to the mountains after years of ignoring the woman who was waiting for him at home — and finding her dead.

Even the gospel songs are dark.

“That’s When I Cried” finds the singer in a cold fog, confronted by the sins in his life.  And “Where Were You” finds rivers turning to blood and stars falling in the sea.

A great album — but chase it with a Three Stooges DVD.

Can’t find it in stores?

Try www.rebelrecords.com.

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