All Fall Down

According to her bio, singer-songwriter Susan Herndon began her music career during a stint living in France, which helps explain the flashes of a vaguely European je ne sais quoi that flicker throughout her fifth album, All Fall Down. You can hear it in the slightly gypsy, jazzy sway of “Pull,” the haunted chambers of “Dry Bones and Dust,” and certainly in the way she sings “Vagabonde” in fluent French. But it’s her beloved home state of Oklahoma that figures most prominently here, from the flirty “Oklahoma Girl” to the steely, keep-it-together determination of “The Bad Roads of Oklahoma.” Similarly, her light and airy voice sounds most at home on the breezily irresistible “Lay Me Down” and the equally buoyant “Land of the Living” — though Herndon and her two co-producers, Lloyd Maines and Bob Livingston, are smart enough to keep the mix good and varied. Of special note are the twilit “Palestine,” with its shimmering rivers of Maines’ pedal steel, and the exceptionally lovely, “Everything to Me,” which showcases Herndon’s casual yet eloquent grace with a romantic piano ballad. — RICHARD SKANSE