Down Fell the Doves

A multi-talented fiddler schooled in Western swing as a whippersnapper member of the Texas Playboys, Amanda Shires nowadays writes and sings dark, deceptively pretty songs as a solo act. Here, she works with Jason Isbell, who she recently married (with songwriter Todd Snider presiding). Her palette has broadened – check the warped Latin groove on "Bulletproof" and the perversely come-hither suicide reverie "Box Cutters." On "A Song For Leonard Cohen," she fantasizes a date with her artistic hero in which she gets him drunk and then sticks him with the bill. He'd still be a fool to turn her down.