JJ Baron is a consummate storyteller who weaves his tales around shimmering pedal steel and six-string acoustic. The singer’s debut album, Brand New Stranger, is packed with perceptive lyrics sung in a high lonesome voice that paints vivid pictures of hazy, smoke-filled juke-joints and backwater motels, populated by hard-drinking cowboys who have, more often than not, been done wrong by their honky-tonk women. It’s no surprise, then, that Hank Williams haunts this record (in a good way) and is explicitly evoked on the foot-stomping, title-track opener as his ghost goes driving by. Elsewhere on the record, a dubious Sheriff who’d “Plant something on a nun / Just to make a bust” (“Dead Man’s Shoes”) rubs shoulders with an outlaw on the run, who threatens “I’ll stain the walls of paradise / And I’m going to turn them red like hell” (“Now I Know”)—that’s if he ever gets his gun back. There’s even room for Slaid Cleaves to join the party for a duet on the bar-room blues ballad “Set ‘Em Up Boys”, before a beautfully simple mountain-melody, “Wildflower”, dedicated to the late great June Carter closes the album. Judging by the talent on display here, this 24 year-old resident of Austin, Texas, won’t be any type of stranger for long.
"Robert DeLong ups his musical game with his new album In the Cards and his live show gets a boost too.READ the article