Best String Section

Jay Munly might be the star, but cellist Rebecca Vera and violinists Elin Palmer and Frieda Stalhiem are the driving force behind the Canadian transplant's "thinkin' man's country music." Weaving together complex rhythms and sensuous melodic lines, the trio of harlots augment Munly's dark, rootsy side with a chamber-driven classicism, turning lyrical murder ballads and tales of backwoods madness into uniquely beautiful arrangements. Then there's the girls' stirring vocal harmonies -- airy, crystalline, seductive and just the right balance for a Southern Gothic hoedown.

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