Best Local Album of the Past 12 Months

Theodore, Hold You Like a Lover

Theodore set the bar high for itself with its second album, Defeated, TN, which was based on a stack of letters found in an abandoned house. Yet the band has outdone itself with LP No. 3, Hold You Like a Lover, which saw national distribution via Moon Jaw Records (www.moonjawrecords.com), a label associated with well-respected Texas label Misra. Lover hovers between folk, alt-country and the blues — a murky, foggy intersection where acoustic guitar, harmonica, banjo, trumpet, pedal steel and even Theremin convene to drown their sorrows. Justin Kinkel-Schuster's vocals shiver like a twang-flecked Jeff Buckley, but when he strains to the ragged ends of his range — as on "Furnished Room" — the wizened urgency of his singing cuts like a rusty knife. Restrained and never kitschy, Lover represents Americana in its purest, rawest form.

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