10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second half of 2013 was a good time for albums by singer/songwriters who've been married to Jason Isbell. The former Drive-By Truckers member's current spouse, Amanda Shires, released Down Fell the Doves, while Isbell's first wife, Shonna Tucker, unleashed her debut record, A Tell All. Tucker was the Truckers' bassist. Her ace in the hole here is that band's erstwhile guitarist, the exceptional John Neff, whose six-string and pedal steel lines illuminate Tucker's tunes like chain lightning against an evening sky. While Tucker's songs plow an Americana/roots-rock furrow unlikely to alienate fans of her former band, A Tell All isn't a Truckers retread. As rooted in soul, blues, and country as most of the tunes are, a subtle pop sensibility lurks under the surface, giving an appealing lightness and accessibility to even the greasiest, grittiest cuts. Considering Tucker's penchant for digging into deep emotional truths in her lyrics, that kind of contrast is crucial, keeping the album aloft no matter how heavy things get.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The second half of 2013 was a good time for albums by singer/songwriters who've been married to Jason Isbell. The former Drive-By Truckers member's current spouse, Amanda Shires, released Down Fell the Doves, while Isbell's first wife, Shonna Tucker, unleashed her debut record, A Tell All. Tucker was the Truckers' bassist. Her ace in the hole here is that band's erstwhile guitarist, the exceptional John Neff, whose six-string and pedal steel lines illuminate Tucker's tunes like chain lightning against an evening sky. While Tucker's songs plow an Americana/roots-rock furrow unlikely to alienate fans of her former band, A Tell All isn't a Truckers retread. As rooted in soul, blues, and country as most of the tunes are, a subtle pop sensibility lurks under the surface, giving an appealing lightness and accessibility to even the greasiest, grittiest cuts. Considering Tucker's penchant for digging into deep emotional truths in her lyrics, that kind of contrast is crucial, keeping the album aloft no matter how heavy things get.

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