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Sarah Shook & the Disarmers find dusty splendor on Nightroamer

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers are known for their roots-driven sound, but on their new third full-length, Nightroamer, Shook’s country aesthetics battle for space alongside some pretty healthy indie inclinations. The production is a bit denser on this recording compared to its predecessor, 2018’s Years—keyboards occasionally factor into the arrangements—and Shook herself gives off less […]

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Lydia Loveless hits new highs on a recent pair of digital singles

Update as of 12/31/21: Both of Lydia Loveless’s concerts at FitzGerald’s have been postponed in deference to the COVID-19 surge. New dates have not yet been announced. In August, Lydia Loveless released two songs digitally that deserve a proper vinyl seven-inch treatment. For the B side, I’d pick “You’re Leaving Me,” a moody country torch song […]

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On their debut album, Chicago’s Tobacco City get to the roots of their wistful country

Chicago country five-piece Tobacco City formed to cover Neil Young songs for a Halloween show, but thankfully they’ve since developed their own sound. Like Young, they have a way with plaintive melodies, but their music is rooted in bluesy honky-tonk and earthy, wistful country, with supple, pop-driven harmony vocals. Tobacco City’s surefire rhythm section—drummer Josh […]

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Chicago’s Thomas Comerford assembles a cast of local musicians for an album of beguiling country

Chicago has its share of bands playing country or alternative country, but Thomas Comerford’s lonesome sound is in a category of its own. Comerford straddles the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s and the dusty, deadpan observations of psychedelic iconoclasts such as Bill Callahan. He’s also an independent filmmaker—he teaches film and art history at the […]

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Valerie June leaves her roots for the stars

Valerie June’s best-known album, 2013’s Dan Auerbach-produced Pushin’ Against a Stone (Sunday Best), is a raw, playful mix of blues and country. Eclectic and ambitious as that effort is, though, it doesn’t capture June’s full range. On the cover of her new fifth album, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers (Fantasy), June wears a […]