Teddy Thompson might be a Gen-Xer, but his heart's firmly planted in the 1950s. After a six-year hiatus, Upfront & Down Low is his second album in just over a year, but this collection isn't about showing off his own material. Instead, Thompson covers the likes of Ernest Tubb, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard, among others.
Tackling such classics is daunting, but Thompson pays careful attention to each track. Instead of mimicking the original versions of these country and roots tunes, he claims them as his own by adding smooth slide guitar, soft vocals and a distinctively delicate touch. Standouts include Haggard's (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers and Parton's heartbreaking My Blue Tears.