Dwight Yoakam, Population Me
A real country music outlaw, Yoakam’s blend of Bakersfield and classic country make for great listening. His twangy delivery and driving melodies–including the country shuffle, showcased here on “No Such Thing” and “I’d Avoid Me Too”–don’t make it onto country radio much, but Yoakam’s one of the best songwriters in the business. All that, and brains too. His interviews are always interesting. (And he’s not a bad actor, either, when he has a decent script.)
Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers
David Berman’s literate and rollicking band is back. It’s a mashup of indie rock and country, not to mention noise, but Berman’s quirky writing and vocal style makes it really listenable. I like “Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed” and “The Farmer’s Hotel.” Some songs suggest a more garage-style Hold Steady.
The Avett Brothers, Emotionalism
The Avetts have some indie rock sensibility, and they throw it into the mix with classic country instruments and influences. I love “Shame.”
Page France, Hello, Dear Wind
France’s earthy spirituality (HT: Greg Beadles) and lyrics have made this a staple in the rotation. “Jesus” is astonishing, but not really a bad song here from my perspective, at least as a listener.