Album Reviews

  • Review: Allison Moorer, 'Blood: A Memoir'

    • December 01, 2019
    • Kim Ruehl

    It’s a horrible, tragic story that Allison Moorer shares in a new 300-page memoir titled Blood. But mixed into all the awfulness is unwavering love and compassion for parents and sister, deep confusion, and a certain melancholic longing—for her parents, for what might have been and what never could be.

  • Album Review: The Avett Brothers, 'Closer Than Together'

    • November 07, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    With Closer Than Together, the Avett Brothers step into the "political song" arena, while not abandoning more familiar ground, all with mixed results. On this album as all the rest, though listeners certainly catch glimpses of their influences — whether that's Bob Dylan or the Clash — the Avett Brothers' melodies, harmonies, and arrangements are unlike any other band's.

  • Album Review: Molly Sarlé , 'Karaoke Angel'

    • October 25, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    Whether paradoxes or purgatory, liminal states of existence make people uneasy. Most folks like their status quo binary world of black or white, not black and white or, for heaven's sake, GREY. Well, with Karaoke Angel, Molly Sarlé has created the perfect soundtrack for a grey, circular, both/and world. Brimming with timeless music backing timely messages, Karaoke Angel manages to be high brow and lo-fi, plain and poetic, uncomfortable and comforting all at once. Just like real life — the one not pictured on Instagram — these songs are complex rather than clean.

  • Album Review: Michaela Anne, 'Desert Dove'

    • October 24, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    When Michaela Anne weaves tangled webs with the songs of Desert Dove, she's not reinventing any musical wheels. She is, instead, carrying on a long-standing tradition that goes back to Patty Loveless and Shania Twain, in the more recent past, as well as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, in the more distant. The difference with Desert Dove is that Michaela stretches her sonic wings to fly outside the bounds of country and into more Americana terrain.

  • Album Review: Andrew Combs, 'Ideal Man'

    • October 17, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    Singer/songwriter Andrew Combs, now a father and long a questioner of all things spiritual, uses his new album, Ideal Man, to double down on that pursuit, perhaps hoping to figure some things out to pass on to his daughter.

  • Album Review: The Milk Carton Kids, 'The Only Ones'

    • October 12, 2019
    • Kim Ruehl

    After last year's full-band effort with All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do, The Milk Carton Kids return to their roots with a new seven-song EP, The Only Ones, that recaptures their intimate, duo magic but also stretches in a new direction.

  • Album Review: Billy Strings, 'Home'

    • October 06, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    With 14 tracks to choose from, Home has something for everyone and feels like Billy Strings has found his place. It's an impressive effort, to be sure, from the wunderkind from Michigan who says he learned how to play from bluegrass, but learned how to perform from heavy metal.

  • Album Review: Humbird, 'Pharmakon'

    • October 06, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    With Humbird's debut full-length, Pharmakon, singer/songwriter Siri Undlin has woven an intricate tapestry of ideas. Even the title is a Plato-defined philosophical theory dripping with complexity, meaning that something can be a remedy, poison, or a scapegoat, depending on the circumstance.

  • Album Review: Pieta Brown, 'Freeway'

    • October 02, 2019
    • Kelly McCartney

    Singer/songwriter Pieta Brown has done so before, and does so again with Freeway, crafting a sonic environment that utterly envelops the listener in the best possible way.