All This Time 

Heartless Bastards (Fat Possum)

Erika Wennerstrom is a rare thing: a white blues/roots-belter utterly free of histrionics. There's a simple power to Wennerstrom's songs and singing that is perfectly matched by the sturdy accompaniment provided by the music of this no-frills Ohio three-piece. The band's 2005 debut, Stairs and Elevators, was an oddly, almost ineffably inspirational album. It was so modest yet reached for so much. I never expected the band to be able to repeat the charms of its debut, but All This Time comes awful close. With Wennerstrom's piano adding more color to a still-basic palette, here's a collection of direct, bone-deep rock songs suffused with an air of cautious hope. ("Searching for the Ghost," "All This Time") -- CH

Grade: A-

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