Susan Gibson, Adam Carroll

If you stray into the world of sincere, gut-busting songcraft via folks like Jay Farrar and Slobberbone's Brent Best, you ought to step in the direction of Adam Carroll. He comes from the old storytelling lineage of Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, but his outlook is fresh, and the hardscrabble, East Texas story-songs on his latest, Far Away Blues, show wisdom and verve beyond his years. He's joined Friday by fellow Austin resident Susan Gibson, best-known for penning the Grammy-winning "Wide Open Spaces" for the Dixie Chicks. Her new sophomore album, Outer Space, continues to show the talent that makes Lucinda Williams comparisons fly.

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Michael Chamy