Best Lovelorn Country Gal

BJ O'Malley

It's bad for her fans, but good for her music: Alt-country chanteuse BJ O'Malley is so busy accumulating material for songs, she doesn't perform or record as much as she ought to. But her latest album, Sweet Baby Freaker, brings you up to speed on what she does when she's not cutting hair, listening to Willie Nelson, or playing the House of Blues: She gets into bad relationships, and she gets in deep. In songwriter ballads, she delivers lines like "Ideally, love is all there is/But really, I think love is dumb" in a soft, fragile voice, sounding like she's fresh from a good cry. And rollicking full-band barnburners like "One Drink at a Time" keep you from feeling too sorry for the girl. Before all the slow-dance sadness and whiskey-drowned sorrow, it appears she was having one hell of time.