Bluesky Bullet Points: April 21, 2024

Three of this week’s entries earn four stars.

Joe Stamm

Allegheny [EP]

Like his pal Charles Wesley Godwin, who guests here, Stamm is a writer of uncommon precision and a singer of modest means. Four songs on this EP, and they’re all absolute stunners– “Cricket Song,” in particular, is as great as anything I’ve heard this year– worth seeking out.


Blanco Brown

Heartache & Lemonade [EP]

Generally good vibes here, which is his MO, but those vibes are never attached to a truly great song or single. These four tracks are all fine enough and would sound fine on radio, but an ingratiating personality is only ever going to get him so far.


Lizz Wright


Fewer country flourishes here than Wright typically offers, but do they ever hit right when they do turn up. As ever, her vocal control and tone astound, as do her interpretive instincts. Also as ever: “Americana” sounds like Wright’s fusion of jazz, folk, blues, country.


Tyler Hubbard


I tried. It’s never as overtly problematic as the worst of Florida Georgia Line, but it’s still a bunch of barely passable written-by-committee songs, garishly produced with an occasional banjo or fiddle line for show, delivered in AutoTune’d to death vox that sound like AI.


Scott H. Biram

The One & Only

As though this world could handle a second one. An album of new material that sounds like a best-of compilation, this one’s a high-quality set of his inimitable wild-and-wooly blend of country, blues, punk, and folk dirges. Aptly, it is SHB at his most SHB.


Marcus King

Mood Swings

Does King have the vocal chops to produce a great Memphis-soul style record? Absolutely. Is Rick Rubin the right producer to bring that great record to bear? This suggests not. There’s a good deal of bluster to this; sometimes it works, sometimes it’s too strident.


Queen Esther

Things are Looking Up

Missing some of the country and folk signifiers of her previous outings, but when you’re this gifted an interpreter of songs? It’s all good. Such an extraordinary and unique voice, perfectly aligned to this type of contemporary jazz setting.


Walker County

Painted Ponies

Music Row inexplicably wanted them to be a JaneDear Girls knock-off; this proves they’re capable of so much better than that. A wonderful surprise of a record, full of quality songwriting, solid vocal harmonies, and trad-country flourishes.

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