An intelligent interpreter and a sharp tunesmith, Claire Lynch comes across like an ace singer-songwriter on her new full-length Whatcha Gonna Do. As is the case with many current artists identified as bluegrass, Lynch is a classic folkie, right down to her artfully employed vibrato. She can sound a little pristine, but she's never prissy, and Whatcha Gonna Do rolls out a dozen first-rate songs held together by Lynch's sense of domesticity's more perilous aspects. Her cover of Garth Brooks and Buddy Mondlock's “A Canary's Song" illustrates the collection's strengths—it's an understated account of the loneliness of big-city life. She sounds contented in the country in “Great Day in the Morning" and says her piece about male self-sufficiency in Susan Werner's “Barbed Wire Boys.” Her tight, terse band plays it close to the vest, which only adds to the record's emotional impact.
Thu., Aug. 20, 9 p.m., 2009