(Republic) – Americana fans have dreamt of Swift showing up at Daryl Hall’s studios for an acoustic hoedown in the “Daryl’s House” series. This surprise album may be as close as we get, with indie stars like Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner of The National joining Swift on 16 exquisite songs. It’s not just Swift going acoustic; it’s Swift dabbling in social commentary in “Last Great American Dynasty” or strident feminism in “Mad Woman.” Let’s hope her fans clamor for more, as this suggests an intriguing alternate Swiftian history that might have been.
, World on the Ground
(Rounder) – Ever since her debut as a teen violinist on Prairie Home Companion, Jarosz’s studio work has featured her knack for cross-cultural arrangements. Here though, she goes for unadorned styles emphasizing lyrics, putting a voice up front similar to Tracy Grammer, or Jarosz’s role in folk trio I’m With Her. This works best in the personal portraits “Johnny” and “Maggie,” featuring great lines like “the Ford Escape that lives up to its name.”