Nashville doesn't make musicians; Nashville makes music. The city crafts songs, lyrics, notes and chords -- but not one person can lay claim to any of it. This is the bitter truth of the music mecca, and there's not a better band than Lambchop to wholly embody the Nashville way of life. Lambchop is less a structured group than a moniker assigned to a decades-old, constantly evolving project headed by singer-songwriter Kurt Wagner (the real Kurt Wagner, not the blue-skinned Nightcrawler one). Damaged, just released on Merge, is only one in a line of numerous studio albums released over the years by the outfit. The liner notes read like a high school yearbook full of collaborators, songwriters, guest spots and experimenters. And the result sounds like Nashville: imbued in old country twang and euphonic lyrical reflections. Despite veering far from the radio-friendly pop-country sound that overruns Music City today, there's still something lacking and very sterile about Damaged. It's hard to find one heartfelt sentiment in a crowd of musicians -- but that's just the curse of Nashville.
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