Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kalie Shorr: Open Book [Kalie Shorr, 2019]
A Nashville Song Suffragette from Portland and I mean Maine, Shorr is yet another smart young woman who might once have been a sharp-tongued folkie but knows Nashville is where that way of music still has a life worth living. This Pistol Annies tryout isn't "Americana," though I hope she's too market-wise to admit it. Nor is it the strophic significance-mongering now on the rise from Jessica Pratt's deliberate quietude to Cate Le Bon's arch gentility to Aldous Harding's retiring obscurantism. Shorr avoids playing her smallish voice cute except maybe when buttering up that blue-eyed honey in L.A. who she'll never forget the way she forgot his name. From "Everybody needs an escape and mine was leaving" to "I've been taking advice from my vices," she's a woman with more killer lines than are good for her. But she's so set on self-knowledge that she attaches them to a broken home on the poor side of town, a sister who ODs, and her "weird relationship" with her dad. She's never more indelible than when she's all "F U Forever." But she sings her last words as an "Angry Butterfly": "And when I clawed my way out/I was changed, I was changed." A