Album: Jeb Loy Nichols, Strange Faith & Practice, (Impossible Ark)

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In the past, the Wyoming-born singer-songwriter Jeb Loy Nichols has mixed country with soul and reggae, but this foray into drifting, downtempo jazz is a wonderful and surprising departure, the 13-song sequence of Strange Faith & Practice deepening as it goes.

Young UK jazz musicians plus a string quartet play simple yet adventurous arrangements by bassist Rian Vosloo while Nichol's gorgeously warm, condolent voice and mournful lyrics make you want to cry, but in a good way.