• Lydia Loveless

    Lydia Loveless Probably Won't Kick Your Ass

    Who: Columbus, Ohio's Lydia Loveless, 23, made her first record, 2010's The Only Man, as a teen, turning heads as much for her powerful, twang-tinged voice as her salacious subject matter. ("I might be really pure, or I might just be a whore," she sang on the closing track.) Then Bloodshot Records came calling to release her sophomore record, 2011's boozy Indestructible Machine. Her band toured on that album nearly non-stop for two years; when it came time to record again, Loveless holed up in an office for a month and wrote "an entire album of very boring country songs," she recalls. "I would go in there every day and have a nervous breakdown. I was writing all this stuff, but it wasn't what I wanted. I just felt embarrassed and scared."In retrospect, Loveless says she handcuffed her songwriting with genre restrictions — the "alt-country princess" tag.

  • Larry Jon Wilson, 'Larry Jon Wilson' (Drag City)

    Wilson, who palled around with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, and other "outlaw country" artists in the '70s, put his funky stamp on that burgeoning movement, then quietly disappeared from Nashville. The tenderhearted originals and reclaimed covers (Bruce Channel's "Rocking With You") on this intimate album (his first in almost 30 years) were recorded in a Florida condo -- just 68-year-old Wilson's warm Georgia baritone, guitar picking seasoned by decades of dive-bar gigs, and sparse fiddle. Snippets of spoken stories only add to the gruff charm. Here's to resurrections. BUY: iTunesAmazon

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