The Lonesome Doves, “Waiting for Stars” (Independent)

reviews-lonesome-doves-waiting-for-starsCan you really use one more downcast country-folk album with funereal slow tempos, standup bass, and a haunted-sounding female singer? If the singer is Erika Lewis of Tuba Skinny, sure. This barebones approach only works if the songs are memorable and the singer is emotive enough to hook you in, and that’s the case here. Lewis does all the singing and writing, and the fact is that she sounds more natural here than she does in Tuba Skinny: Instead of channeling a roomful of ’40s sirens, she sings as herself, and the songs deal touchingly with heartache and loss. Most follow the classic country template of being on the wrong end of cheating and drinking—or in the case of “Yesterday’s Fool,” just aching over a long-gone love. Though less obviously catchy than the rest, the one that grabs hardest is “When We Were Wild,” with its payoff line, “I’d have held on tight if I knew what I know now.” The instrumentation (with fellow Skinny member Shaye Cohn on violin) is sympathetic throughout. And while an upbeat song or two wouldn’t have hurt, this is a good one for those teary late-night moods.