When we eat the rich, let’s start with the music moguls. Clear Channel Communications, with 1,200 radio stations, controls 10 percent of the American market and over 50 percent of the nation’s major pop music stations. As if that’s not monopoly enough, the company’s concert network dominates the United States’ rock and pop touring business. How much good music have we never heard because it falls through the cracks of such a corrupt business?Chapel Hill’s Dave Spencer is a case in point. He’s been chasing the gold ring for a decade or more, he’s one of the best live showmen in a town chock full of musicians, and yet he’s having trouble finding a distributor for his new CD, Exile Love, let alone a record contract.

Exile Love is Spencer’s best yet–and it’s got a pedigree: It was recorded by Southern Culture on the Skids’ Rick Miller at the Kudzu Ranch, with Jimbo Mathus (drums), Stu Cole (bass), and SCOTS’ Mary Huff doing a vocal cameo. Spencer handles his guitar like it was an extension of his body. And his voice–one part Mark Knopfler, one part Eric Clapton and the rest all him–has a rough, smoky quality.

Despite having the right ingredients, for now you’ll have to see Spencer himself to get a copy. Fortunately, he’s easy enough to find at his bi-weekly Wednesday night gig at The Cave, and he’s never better than live and in person.