2013’s Spring Album Preview

Six albums to pick up before the summer touring season begins.
Tue May 14, 2013 11:00 am
Jessica Lehrman

As the midpoint of 2013 approaches, an impressive array of high-profile releases from Texas artists has already emerged, highlighted by an octogenarian legend (Willie Nelson), a cult favorite (Iron and Wine), an embattled Dixie Chick (Natalie Maines) and a promising country starlet (Kacey Musgraves). Who’s next? A Beyoncé album, still unscheduled, is somewhere on the horizon. But more immediately there is a robust selection of Texans releasing new music—from hip-hop to country and indie rock to Top 40—in advance of the summer touring season.

Pure X

Crawling Up the Stairs (out May 14)

The genesis of this trippy Austin trio’s sophomore album was rooted in real-life drama: Nate Grace, its guitarist and singer-songwriter, spent much of last year recuperating from a serious leg injury without insurance or a guarantee he would walk again. The result is a bleak and unsettling song cycle about pain and the healing process, both physical and emotional.

The atmospheric heartbreaker “Thousand-Year-Old Child” finds its way from delicate acoustic guitars to loud blasts of electric feedback and back again. At its core—and arguably the core of the album itself—is the line “What am I doing with my life?”

Jason Boland and the Stragglers

Dark & Dirty Mile (May 14) 

Armed with a distinctive baritone and a catalog of songs you can two-step to, the Oklahoma-bred and Austin-based Boland has been

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