From the opening moments of his fifth studio album, Austin troubadour Hayes Carll sounds as if the words he’s singing are being unearthed from the darkest corners of his soul.
His is a weary, wry style of music weaving together folk, rock and country — even a dusting of jazz — and has helped make him one of the most essential singer-songwriters in not only Texas, but the wider world.
Produced over five days in L.A. by Joe Henry, Lovers and Leavers is a bruised song cycle — the Townes Van Zandt allusion Sake of the Song Carll uses as a kind of offhand manifesto — but one where skill overtakes whatever tribulations or dark days inspired these bleakly beautiful compositions.
“Sometimes a little while is the best we can do,” Carll intones during Good While It Lasted. It will be much longer than that before you’re able to tear yourself away from this subtle masterpiece.
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Carll celebrates the release of Lovers and Leavers with two shows Saturday at Dallas’ Kessler Theater.
Missing Sibling, self-titled
Fort Worth quintet Missing Sibling — Drew Gabbert, Steph Buchanan, Todd Walker, Kevin Buchanan and Josh Hoover — makes a rambunctious, infectious debut on Idol Records, attacking the 10 tracks on its self-titled debut with its customary brio.
Keyboards whirl around gleaming, gnashing guitars and crashing percussion, lending tracks like Don’t Even Try and Mary’s Rashers a sense of whimsy amid the bite. Crafting power-pop as sleek and cerebral as this is something of a local rarity, making Missing Sibling all the more essential.
The music being made on Missing Sibling doesn’t sound like much else in North Texas, and we are all the richer for that. Missing Sibling performs Friday at Dallas’ the Underpass.
The Relatives, ‘Goodbye World’
It is slightly surprising — although perhaps it shouldn’t be — that a cloud of grief doesn’t hang over the Relatives’ latest album, its first release since the February death of founding member Gean West (whose spoken-word interlude gives the opening track Rational Culture/Testimony a poignant twist).
The Dallas-based psychedelic gospel-funk pioneers have weathered their fair share of hardship and disappointments — its first album, 2013’s The Electric Word, took the better part of 40 years to materialize — so soldiering on is a matter of course.
The supple Goodbye World finds the band mining the same vein of funkiness and faith that has been its hallmark for decades — You Gotta Do Right all but sets the pews ablaze — and finding the strength to move forward, comforting by that undying belief.