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Sam Morrow Concrete and Mud Out Now - A Rolling Stone Editor's Best Album Pick

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Sam Morrow, Concrete and Mud
This Angeleno offers a West Coast take on country music on his third album, but Concrete and Mud's vibe is less sunshine and palm trees and more in line with the hard surfaces and grit of its album title. In the pulsing, clavinet-assisted "Quick Fix" and the swaggering album opener "Heartbreak Man," Morrow pairs his brawny voice and tales of life at the margins with brittle funk grooves and greasy slide guitar licks. He incorporates some psychedelic tones in the sprawling jam "Paid by the Mile" and the murder ballad "The Weight of a Stone," delivering a subtly chilling vocal performance on the latter. Fellow SoCal country singer Jaime Wyatt joins him on the rollicking gambler saga "Skinny Elvis," a nod to the King as well as to the classic duet style of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. When the Golden State's notoriously gorgeous weather comes up in the ballad "San Fernando Sunshine," it comes from the perspective of someone who's been struggling to catch a break in Los Angeles, where the glitz and glamour always seem just a bit out of reach. - Jon Freeman