The albums 12 tunes brim with crystal-clear, country guitars celebrating all the joys of rural life and not necessarily just the whiskey-related ones.
Its a dusty gem of an Okie-born album (Sampsons now based in Fayetteville, Ark.), spiked with the occasional blast of organ and glimmering pedal steel from Chris Moore.
Wanda Jackson and Woody Guthrie get a shout-out in Sampsons fantasy track, Queen of Oklahoma, where shes got a Dust Bowl throne and the wavin wheats always waving at me. Its charming and, most importantly, believable. With her voice winsome and earnest, its a great relief to the sassy, affirmative, Miranda Lambert-with-a-shotgun songs that female country singers currently feel pressured to write.
The record chugs to a climax on the fifth track, Jesse James, wherein Sampson belts the title lyric more whip-like and intense than the pastoral subject matter would suggest. Here, shes definitely straddling between country and modern rock, which is pretty impressive considering the cat-lady eyeglass frames shes wearing on the discs back cover.
Mockingbird Sing is out now in physical and digital formats. Sampson performs at a free show Saturday at JJs Alley, 212 E. Sheridan. For more information, call 605-4543. Matt Carney