Australia is in some ways a cousin of America -- in telling the Brits where to go, for one thing; for another, in a mutual love for roots music. Aussie export Anne McCue is a counterpart to (not copy of) Lucinda Williams, and Jeff Lang is probably their Chris Whitley, in that both gents achieved edgy reinventions of various aspects of blues, folk, and rock and roll.
The collection Prepare Me Well presents an exhilarating cross section of Lang's five Australian releases. An ace introduction, it's almost too much to take in during one sitting, swinging from Leo Kottke-like acoustic picking in "Ravenswood" to the smoldering, mini-epic title song (evoking Richard Thompson at his electric best) to the volatile rap-blues blitz of "Too Easy to Kill." Lang possesses an atypically youthful voice, to say the least, sounding more like Paul Simon's bad-news kid brother (or Steve Earle) than Buddy Guy.