Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tyler Childers: Country Squire [RCA/Hickman Holler, 2019]
This guy can write. For the second straight album, he mixes a few sure-shot classics into nine straight winners--imaginatively observed, acutely colloquial songs of the Appalachian life, the musician's lot, or both. On 2017's Purgatory I loved the way he pivoted off the title into the doctrinal matters that still persist where fundamentalism rules, for the object of his special affection is a papist so unbiblical as to believe there's a place between heaven and hell. Here he's apparently married this infidel, a paragon who texted him the selfies that inspire the juiciest wanking song in the literature--"It gets so hard out on the road," so thank the Lord the motel has his "favorite lotion" and his "Ever Lovin' Hand." Other topics include the muse he can't refuse, the '66 camper he's customizing, a school bus driver who'll paddle your ass, and the high price of peace of mind. A-