WHO ARE THEY? The husband-and-wife band of veteran Americana singer-songwriters who don’t record together nearly often enough — almost exclusively due to MVP Buddy’s neverending production and sideman chores for artists like Robert Plant, Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris and countless others.
WHAT IS THIS? Just their fourth official album in a generation, and Julie’s first new recordings after a decade-long drought spent waiting for Buddy, recovering from personal tragedies and coping with the pain of fibromyalgia.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The album fans have been waiting for since 2009 — a magical and mesmerizing work that seamlessly joins Julie’s poignant melodies and drawled vocals with Buddy’s swampy settings, thumpy rhythms and hazy production.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? It’s About Damn Time.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? Via earbuds, while shopping for an expensive surprise for your spouse.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Homespun, bittersweet, yearning, romantic, balanced, collaborative, tender, honest, moving, grounded.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Every track here is a pearl on the string — but standouts include the tender I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (Julie’s attempt to lure Buddy back to the fold) and the slow-burning Everything Is Your Fault (a semi-serious view from the other side of the coin). The raucous title cut and the bruised roots-rocker Underneath the Sky are no slouches either.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘After 10 years, they could have at least made a double album.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? As often as it takes to make up for a decade of waiting.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A STEP IN RECOVERY, WHICH STEP WOULD IT BE? A combination of Step 5 (“Admitting the exact nature of our wrongs”) and Step 9 (“Making direct amends to those we harmed”).
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Hey, if you’re still looking for a gift for your spouse, there’s always this.