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Jim Roll -- Lunette (New West).  Roll roars out of the gate on his new disc with the romantic nostalgia of "1955" ("...I just wanna take you out tonight / and watch the sun die down over a sleepy little town / or maybe I just miss you...").  The music sparkles under the production of Walter Salas-Humara (The Silos), and his treatment is exquisite.  One of the best is the second tune on the record, "Blind Me" -- it starts with just Roll's voice and a casually plucked banjo ("ain't nothing wrong with me / I believe I'm doing OK").  Before you know it there's a snarling guitar in your face and the song takes off, as Roll's lyric lays down the law ("and if you need me, you know where you can find me / you can make me play the fool, but you can't blind me").   It's apparent after two songs that this is one incredible record on all fronts -- the supporting cast includes Gurf Morlix, Jon Dee Graham, and K.C. Groves is back with more great harmony vocals.  Salas-Humara's production is crisp and tight as a fist -- where the previous album seemed to wander off in unwelcome directions, this one is clear and focused and it hits you hard.  "These Winds" begins with the screeches of a lingering nightmare that he's just awakened from -- a familiar voice is there for comfort and support ("and she said it's just the wind, dear / and that I'd been away too long / and if I couldn't call on my parents / I'd never sing my songs") -- Roll sings over a gorgeous string quartet [chills].  The next song, "Age Old Love Story" soars on the back of Brian Delaney's slide guitar ("and if I had it to do again / I'd take all our pain / lay it in the rain / watch it all get washed away").   Lunette is a mature, daring, energetic song cycle from one of "alternative country's" most promising new artists.  -TRS

Track listing:

1. 1955 (2:40)
2. Blind Me (2:29)
3. Down (3:22)
4. She Ain't Gonna Go (2:47)
5. Lunette (3:45)
6. These Winds (3:46)
7. Age Old Love Story (4:14)
8. Everything (3:08)
9. Bleed (If You're Bleeding) (2:25)
10. Dear (4:05)
11. $15 and a Bottle of Wine (3:24)
12. Witness World (2:33)

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