It takes a lot of courage to make a lo-fi solo record these days. It takes even more guts to do it a second time. Known to the Detroit’s pasty-skinned indie set as a one-time member of Saturday Looks Good To Me and the Black Forest Girls, Miss Kelly Jean Caldwell may have been singing for years now, but that doesn’t mean she’s got herself all figured out. Cushioned in intimate and remorseful lyrics, Caldwell has pieced together a respectable mosaic of folk-pop and Americana country tunes on her second album. While the singer-songwriter got a gang of musician pals to help out, she would’ve been better suited on her own with an acoustic guitar, a pic of Gram Parsons and the late-night drunken notes she scribbled about some boy. Her wonderful, somewhat country-trill voice is, on the first half of Banner, overwhelmed by the band-heavy pop songs. But when the songs are stripped down to a guitar or two and her naked voice — which is almost the entire second half of the record — Caldwell creates her own furnace-room lullabies that Neko Case would envy, hitting the nail on the head with the dusty denim bounce of “Southern Boys.” If she made more songs like that, things would be a lot more interesting in Detroit.
Friday, May 20, at 313.Jac (624 Brush St., Detroit; 313-967067).
Shannon McCarthy writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].