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Otis Redding, Jayhawks Help Us Overcome The Mailbox Cringe

Sometimes we cringe when we go to the mailbox, but the past few days have brought Lonesome, Onry and Mean an eclectic trove of cool stuff.

New Mystery Girl is Austinite Chrissy Flatt's new project with longtime collaborators Eric Hisaw and Ron Flynt. Twist City is a no-frills roots-rock disc - like the Pretenders on a low budget - and Flatt's sandy drawl works perfectly with these gentle tales of passion, lust and adventure. Turn this one up and it is bound to grow on you. Flatt moves beyond the confines of singer-songwriter-dom with this jangly take on rocking girl bands of the past.

Hollywood Records' new self-titled disc by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals finds these alt-country darlings beefed up and rocking hard, hard, hard - so hard, in fact, it is quickly obvious that alt-country isn't the right designation for this band anymore. Personnel changes and additions have altered the Nocturnals' for the better. This album grabbed LOM by the ears and slapped our face the second we put it in the player, and the pain felt so good. We're going to let it happen again. Many times, probably.

There isn't much to say about Otis Redding: Live on the Sunset Strip except buy the damn thing. This Stax/Concord Music Group release features Redding at the top of his game as he was breaking out of the "soul music" designation and becoming a full-on rock star. Great gawd-a-mighty, this is a must-have for Redding fans.

And just yesterday, LOM opened a Lost Highway envelope and pulled out the original 1986 self-titled Jayhawks album referred to by alt-country nation as "The Bunkhouse Record." The jacket features a new essay by group member Mark Olson that details the crucial role of then-manager Charlie Pine as the catalyst who made the first recording by this now-legendary ensemble possible. Fans of the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons won't be disappointed with this one.

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William Michael Smith