Oh Susanna Oh Susanna

There’s been always something rustic and country about Oh Susanna: the natural twang in her voice, the dustbowl rising sensibilities of her songwriting. On her earliest recordings, it might have seemed a little put on, but on this, her fourth record, she’s pulled out all the production stops, including a full band and horns. When the missteps don’t work, like referencing 9/11 on “Cain Is Rising,” (featuring a kind of incongruous shuffle beat and wahwah guitar), it only proves that you can’t take her out of the country, even if she did grow up in Vancouver. It’s curious that there’s little or no adherence to an old-timey feel here — no primitive recording methods, no refusal of modern technology — yet it still sounds so vintage you add the scratch of old vinyl in your head. Oh Susanna has come to embody not just a simple sound but a songwriting method and a vision of the universe that’s more than a half-century old. Powerful pipes and a deceptively vague lyrical touch help connect to her down on lady luck tales with a sound you haven’t heard since raiding your grandparents’ 78s. What are 78s? (Stella)