On her new Getting Somewhere (Sugar Hill) Allison Moorer expresses an optimism that was absent on previous albums, where she transformed personal misery into stinging poetry. On songs like “Work to Do” and “Fairweather,” her narrators triumphantly shake off bad relationships–which may or may not say anything about her divorce from Doyle Primm, who cowrote and produced her previous records. The change in tone extends beyond the lyric sheet: producer (and Moorer’s new husband) Steve Earle does away with the brooding Crazy Horse-style dirges of her last album in favor of a shinier, thinner country-rock sound. I think Moorer’s at her best when she’s got something to fulminate about, but I still appreciate songs like “You’ll Never Know,” which echoes Linda Ronstadt’s breezy 70s sound, or the aching, twang-kissed “Hallelujah.” Steve Dawson opens this show, part of Robbie Fulks’s “Secret Country” series. Sun 9/17, 7 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000 or 866-468-3401, $20, $16 seniors and kids. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Gabrielle Revere.