Album: Lizz Wright, The Orchard (Verve Forecast)

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The Independent Culture

Produced once again by Craig Street, this third album by stately-voiced, gospel-trained Wright represents a great leap forward.

Now aged 28, she sounds more confident than before while the repertoire – intended to evoke her experience as a minister's daughter in rural Georgia – abandons jazz for a deep seam of country-tinged rootsiness, recorded partly in Tucson with Calexico and featuring a cameo by Dylan's pedal steel man, Larry Campbell. At its best, on "Hey Mann" and "When I Fall", it's swooningly good. But when there's a too obvious gimmick – covering Led Zep or Ike Turner, say – the method works less well.