Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful (Dualtone)
There are plenty of country-music delivery systems these days: lurid network dramas, Nashville-minted gleaming-teeth megastars, hirsute good ol’ boys, sensitive-poet road warriors, honky-tonk princesses, Kennedy-kidnapping tabloid fixtures, hacky-sacking surfer boys, Appalachian exorcists, alt.lifers, critical darlings, bluegrass virtuosos, rockabilly tarts, Swedes. Some pine for a Golden Age, some pine for 1994, some pine for Jake Gyllenhaal. We have learned to love them all, even the ones who have enjoyed making that difficult. Prepare yourself.