Bluesky Bullet Points: May 19, 2024

The Mavericks lead the week with what might be their best album yet.


Wade Bowen


Great in the way that Bowen’s albums are always great, this is also the most mainstream-accessible album he’s put out since If We Ever Make It Home ages ago. With Texas country having a moment of Music Row incursion, a savvy artist would look to this as a source for covers.


Laci Kaye Booth

The Loneliest Girl in the World

A tremendous songwriter, Booth offers a cohesive set that taps into a generational disaffect in ways that are insightful, compelling. And about half of it works great with her limited vocal power, while the other songs cry out for a singer with greater presence.


Ani DiFranco

Unprecedented Shit

The varied, hard-edged production makes for her most sonically adventurous album in ages. Still, this continues her trend of speaking many of her truths-to-power via broad platitudes, when her best work is always her most interior.


The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers

Uneven. The return of twangier flourishes is welcome, and their vocal harmonies are as lovely as ever. Some of the songwriting is just beyond the pale, though: Lead single “Love of a Girl” is a Barenaked Ladies nightmare, while “We Are Loved” is K-LOVE worthy schmaltz.


Kaia Kater

Strange Medicine

She casts herself as a witch on the stunning opener (with Aofie O’Donovan!), then spends the rest of the album looking for healing, grace in places that are anything but traditional. Another woman of color who is truly pushing country and Americana in progressive directions.


The Mavericks

Moon & Stars

For sure their best since What a Crying Shame, and daresay their finest album ever. They remain a singular outfit: Theirs is an aesthetic that is immediately recognizable even before Raul Malo starts singing, and the line-up changes drive purposeful evolution.


Brian Kelley

Tennessee Truth

Wait, was he supposed to be the more talented one, or no? Because this is full of every last stereotype of the bro-country era at its worst. Purely in terms of construction, the lone saving grace of any FGL effort, these tracks are stilted, awkward, and messy.


Scotty McCreery

Rise & Fall

The mainstream has pivoted in the direction of the style of music he does best, and he fully meets the moment on what’s easily his finest record. His points of reference– “Porch” nods to Roger Miller in form– cut deeper than those of his peers, and good on him.


  1. Very happy to see a positive score for Wade Bowen and Scotty. Both are excellent accessible country records and hope they do well for them. Going to need to check out The Mavericks new record after the high praise as one of their best albums ever when they had a incredible run of records from the 90’s.

    • For sure! Bowen is a long-time favorite: An ace songwriter, obviously, and I just love the timbre of his voice. I hadn’t liked McCreery’s output much at all until “Damn Strait,” but all signs were pointing toward this being a career album for him, and he really stepped up. I always try to approach new albums with an open mind: I couldn’t stand LeAnn Rimes’ early work, for instance, and she turned into one my favorite artists of the last two decades.

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