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Lizz Wright : The Orchard

From its first track’s atmosphere of lean Hammond B3s, hollowed-pit drum snaps, gristly wah-wah-infused guitars and dusty pedal steel, you can hear that Georgia crooner Lizz Wright’s moved from the R&B rub of previous recordings (Salt) to a different street entirely: Craig Street’s street, he the producer behind the crusty textural vibes of Cassandra Wilson. This is no shock. Wright’s baritone husk has always sounded like a sprightlier version of Wilson’s carefully odd wail. But Street and a cast of characters-including singer Marc Anthony Thompson and pedal/mandolin player Larry Campbell-drop Wright’s soul-strewn highs to encompass rangy blues numbers penned by Ike Turner (the greasy-lite of “I Idolize You”) and handily emotional ballads by Mel Tillis (a yawning, spacious “Strange”) and the Page/Plant team (a weirdly smooth “Thank You”).

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