The Cottonwood Tree

Somewhere between Ryan Adams and Jesse Dayton rests Jordan Minor’s new work, The Cottonwood Tree. The New Braunfels-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist bookends the album with desperation anthems “The Ballad of William Bonney” and “Workin’ Man.” The first six tracks have that one arm out the window feel, but the never-ending “Rosalynn Brown” pats the brakes, and the music goes into park-and-snuggle mode; it seems the truck has pulled into the drive and the outlaw has settled down. Minor’s growl guides you along the title track, then purrs through bedroom disclosures on “When Tomorrow Comes” (coming soon to a wedding near you) and back-porch epiphanies in “Misery.” Heartache creeps at the corners of most tunes, but Minor brings a very guarding delivery that creates a personal listening experience. There’s a depth and maturity in this album rarely found so early in a musician‘s catalog. This is a disc for fans of music that crackles, long embraces, and midnight conversation. — CODY OXLEY