Certain moments on Amy LaVere's Stranger Me sound like gentle lullabies, but that doesn't necessarily make for easy listening. Beneath the gauze of her soft, tangled voice and the resonant hum of her upright bass, LaVere crafts 3 a.m. symphonies of longing and loneliness. The plinks and clunks of a celeste welcome the listener into "Cry My Eyes Out," but those disembodied, twangy guitar notes and the constant pleading of the lyrics for salvation through the radio dial set a different tone. (The song title is kind of a giveaway, come to think of it.) Luckily, LaVere has no trouble establishing that kind of connection with her listeners.
Down South: LaVere, a Louisiana native and current Memphis resident, was assisted in the studio by members of Lucero, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Memphis Symphony.