WHO IS SHE? A Central California singer-songwriter (and waitress at her family’s restaurant) who grew up on punk rock but has turned her talents to country-rock — which makes her the perfect protege for SoCal punk legend and family friend Mike Ness of Social Distortion.
WHAT IS THIS? Her darker, more personal and more confident second album for the eclectic and artist-friendly indie label ANTI- — and a disc that could get her out of waiting tables permanently.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Real life — love and ambition and confusion and pain and addiction and everything between — honestly and frankly expressed in biting lyrics and silky tones. And expertly complemented by Ness’s raw roots tracks.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? On the Right Track.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On the jukebox at a country bar — preferably with somebody who appreciates real country-rock and not the hip-pop crud-blort that spews from Nashville these days.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Enchanting, enigmatic, earnest, poetic, personal, powerful, gritty, unvarnished, focused, strong.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? City Lights revisits a horrifying chapter in her life — in 2012, she broke her back after falling from a rope swing, leading to months of recovery, depression, a painkiller addiction and an eating disorder. It’s by far the darkest number here — but it does kind of set the tone for this unflinchingly revealing disc.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘There have to be easier ways to get material for a great song.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? It won’t take over your life — and her best work is probably still a few years away — but there’s enough going on here to earn some play.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A PARTY GUEST, WHAT KIND OF PARTY GUEST WOULD IT BE? That person who tells you their whole life story before you even know their name.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? After all she’s been through, a few bucks seems like the least you could do. And remember: Always tip your waitress.