Pick of the week: The Mavericks’ Born to Be Blue. One of country music’s best live bands of the ’90s returns, and its members haven’t lost a step, if reports from recent Stagecoach and Nashville shows are to be believed.
10 intriguing tracks found during the week’s listening:
Pontoon, Little Big Town
As with Boondocks, the quartet keeps its summertime song refreshingly free of lyrical or musical country clichés.
Even the Losers, Pat Green
On Songs We Wish We’d Written II, this Texan finds a new approach to the Tom Petty song involving piano and strings.
Drinkin’ Man, George Strait
Starting from a 14-year-old’s first hangover, Strait traces an alcoholic’s life with agonizing precision.
Gin, Smoke & Lies, Turnpike Troubadours
The band cut its teeth on the Southwest’s “Red Dirt” circuit, but this sounds like an Appalachian ballad.
“45,” Gaslight Anthem
Vinyl, cars and rock ‘n’ roll ghosts — a song about being stuck between staying the same and moving on.
After All, The Choir
Leigh Nash joins one of Christian rock’s most consistently interesting groups for a cosmic slice of dreampop.
Life Boat, Early Morning Rebel
On a track of hopeless beauty, this fashion-forward L.A. duo reaches out to a lost soul that’s long past saving.