Style: Raw, Depression-era piano songs; compare to Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Ray Charles
Top tracks: "Lonely Avenue," "There Ain't No Sweet Man That's Worth the Salt of My Tears," "Wide River to Cross"
Take the old-timey album title seriously: Krall's latest is a collection of vintage saloon songs, many of them valentines from the 1920s, all of them bathed in the analog ambience of producer T-Bone Burnett. This could have been a museum piece, but in reality, it's an album teeming with life: Krall reaches deep down for some revelatory performances, while guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Jay Bellerose keep these stalwart songs a little off-kilter. It's a dusty gem of an album, highlighted by a smoldering, seven-minute take on the Ray Charles standard "Lonely Avenue," a feisty romp through "There Ain't No Sweet Man That's Worth the Salt of My Tears," and a reverent take on the Buddy Miller song "Wide River to Cross," which frames these songs of love and loss as something of a pilgrimage.
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