Freakwater Thinking of You

A six-year hiatus might have been cause for alarm but the core members of Freakwater sound rejuvenated on this vibrant new record. Vocalists Catherine Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean have finally reunited with bassist David Gay and the result is both familiar and new. With each song backed up by various members of Califone, Thinking of You proves to be an eclectic record that yields stunning singing from Irwin and Bean curled up with varied styles of country music. There are shades of Sara and Maybelle Carter in songs like "Jack the Knife” and "Cricket Versus Ant,” while old Nashville is invoked on "Loserville.” The death of Woody Guthrie’s daughter gets a spooky treatment on "Cathy Ann,” while the band get honky tonkin’ on the rollicking, ribald "So Strange.” It’s difficult to pick a highlight here but it’s just as easy to be swayed by the punky, political charge of "Buckets of Oil,” as it is the shimmering beauty of "Jewel.” Thinking of You is ripe with wonderful songs and truly is a welcome return for Freakwater. (Thrill Jockey)