Going to see Those Darlins comes with one guarantee: Jessi Zazu will stare you down. Yes, she's playing with your mind; and yes, she's enjoying it.
A storyteller in the tradition of Woody Guthrie or Bruce Springsteen, Otis Gibbs has released the new album "Souvenirs of a Misspent Youth," a collection of raw and honest tales of the common man and his trials and tribulations. His stories are clear, and he sings with such weathered emotion that you'll surely stop and listen to what he has to say.
Fitting neatly but not too neatly between the folk-pop sheets of sound of bands like the Decemberists and the Head and the Heart, Chesapeake, Virginia band the Last Bison roams down its own anthemic path through "Bad Country."
Armed with kick drum, accordion and an experimental-folk imagination, Lonesome Leash, the project of New Orleans musician Walt McClements, demonstrates on "The Night Was Old" that he's bound and determined to make roots music that's not quite like anything you've heard before.
It's almost impossible to talk about Bobby Bare Jr. without mentioning his renowned father, country music icon Bobby Bare Sr. But Bare Jr. proves that he's more than just the son of a famous father in "North of Alabama," a soulful tune that blends alt-country with roots rock and is topped off with Bare Jr.'s deep, smoky voice.
Alejandro Escovedo is considered one of the finest singer-songwriters of his generation, so when he decided to cover Mick Jagger's wistful country ballad "Evening Gown," it was bound to be good. And Escovedo doesn't disappoint on this classic version of the song, featuring Jon Langford.
Driven by tough slide guitar and Ben Miller's tougher voice, the call-and-response gospel blues of "Get Right Church" just might make a believer out of the most hardened skeptic.