Best Country Band (Alt)

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers

It's kind of unfair to label Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers as an alt-country act. But because she isn't part of the super-slick, overly packaged pablum Nashville likes to crank out, Muth feels alternative by default. (And besides, the Maldives are so 2009.) Muth earns frequent comparisons to Iris DeMent and Emmylou Harris, both accurate. Her latest album, Starlight Hotel, is filled with the kind of blue-collar sensibility that dominated country radio in decades past, only Muth's sly lyrics bring a modern sheen to everything. "When you said you'd never heard of John Prine," she sings on "If I Can't Trust You With a Quarter," a mid-tempo tale of a barfly with a wicked record collection, "well, I knew right away you weren't worth my time." Muth, however, very much is. DAVE LAKE

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