Jesse Winchester Love Filling Station

We can claim this veteran singer-songwriter as one of our own with justification; Winchester dodged the draft in the early '70s, spending 30 years in Montreal before repatriating himself. There is something Canadian about the unassuming nature of his writing and singing as well. His emotionally eloquent tunes have been covered by the likes of Elvis Costello, the Everly Brothers, Jimmy Buffett and the Mavericks (who did one of the cuts here, the Orbison-like "O What A Thrill"), but there's pleasure to be had in hearing Winchester's lilting tenor sing them. In fact, his gentle voice is so appealing that even his cover of over-recorded classic "Stand By Me" works. Tunes like "Wear Me Out" and "Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding" have a soulful feel bolstered by backing vocals (à la Lyle Lovett). A supporting cast of top Nashville players includes Jerry Douglas on lap steel, while country singer Claire Lynch contributes nicely to closing duet "Loose Talk." Winchester's first studio album in nine years is a sweet and mellow treat. (Appleseed)