Leslie Alexander Savage Country

Since moving to Vancouver from her hometown of High River, Alberta, Alexander has ultimately looked back to her roots for this album, her first overtly roots-based collection of songs. The desolate, dusty Prairie vibe is apparent right from the engaging opening cover of Dolly Parton’s "Bargain Store” — featuring some tasty slide guitar from Harry Manx — continuing through "One & Only,” and the title track, both laments for the disappearing rural culture of Alexander’s youth. Although she doesn’t possess the edge of a Lucinda Williams or a Patty Griffin, Alexander sings with a conviction that’s sufficient for the passionate stories of loss and hard times that her songs convey. Other guests, including Linda McRae, and the Be Good Tanyas’ Sam Parton, along with crisp production by Wyckham Porteous and John Ellis, help make Savage Country a poignant snapshot of Canadiana, and a bold statement from an emerging artist confidently finding her feet. (Pacific)