A LOT OF PEOPLE die on Diana Jones’ new album, High Atmosphere, most of ’em poor and all of ’em trapped in some manner of earthly hell. A sister, a wife, a convict and young parents are among those left to discover that however little they thought they had, they now have less. Death has innocent victims, a point Jones nails perfectly with Blind Willie Johnson’s Motherless Children.

Fitting subjects for a country-folk singer, yet the power of this album is how its simple tales of loss create a gospel of hope like chapters in a novel. Love can make a desperate life manageable, the prisoner writes from death row. Praying may be futile, as some of the narrators believe, but it’s better than the alternative.

Jones is quietly building a catalogue of thoughtful, original work, and this is her most complete. It is a rare album equally suited to enjoyable listening or literary deconstruction..and special mention to co-producers Jones and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor – they got each song spot on perfect.

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