Style: Rich, intimate folk; compare to Ani DiFranco, Devon Sproule, Sam Phillips
Top Tracks: "Young Man in America," "Dyin' Day," "Tailor"
How do you follow something like Hadestown (one of CT's top albums of 2010)—a full-blown "folk opera" that re-imagined Greek myth in the language of an American Depression? If you're Anais Mitchell, you dial back the gods and goddesses (though there is a paean to "Venus") but not the ambition, and you head to the American frontier. Young Man in America is not a concept album per se, but it is rich and rewarding album that examines a particularly modern malaise. Mitchell's characters are too old to be parented, but not yet parents themselves; they are lost in a search for meaning, and the hollow materialism offered by their culture is no answer at all.
Copyright © 2012 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.