and she still favors a turn toward the morbid. She does well when representing relationships between different generations of women, and some of her songs, like the beyond-seductive, fiddle-based "Down by the Quarry," could fit easily onto the more countrified Lucinda Williams releases.
What sets Oh Susanna apart is her awareness of where all this stuff comes from. The words "country-rock" tend today to connote a don't-even-try-to-understand complacency, but in its beginnings the genre had greater ambitions. Ungerleider knows the musicians who first got the idea of answering rock's hedonistic attempts at transcendence with a lyric-based form of expression. Hovering at the periphery of country music, it used landscapes, quasi-religious sentiments, and romantic archetypes to tell its stories. Oh Susanna reaches back to tap into the country-styled music of Bob Dylan, of Gram Parsons (often regarded as alt-country's key forerunner), and of a band that Parsons influenced into making some country-rock music of its own the Rolling Stones.