cash to buy CDs. While Jen Cass isn't a Morrison or a Lennon, her two CDs, including last year's Skies Burning Red, have definitely helped lift my spirits out of their postelection funk.
Cass grew up in the 'burbs of Detroit listening to Joan Baez and Kris Kristofferson, but you'd be hard pressed to guess that from her music. Her voice is this grainy, sing-spoken vehicle that brings to mind the Carter Family and other sounds of the South, in a sort of pop-music high lonesome way. She's a less bluesy Lucinda Williams, a more gutsy, less melodic Mary Chapin Carpenter, and she has an emotional fire in her tone that's hard to put your finger on. But it finally hit me: it's a Michigan flavor, the midwestern twang in her singing that she's tossed into old-time country folk music and updated as a kind of pop music.