Amy Rigby, Diary Of A Mod Housewife (1996)

Amy Rigby's debut solo album, the first of a series of tremendously well-written releases, is a rare album for and about grown-ups.  Apparently recorded while Rigby was in the midst of a divorce (from drummer Will Rigby of the legendary dB's, who I definitely need to get into this space soon) while trying to balance raising a baby and surviving as a New York-based musician (she'd been in a couple prior indie bands whose work is long out of print), the record takes on some mature themes, all with her insightful and arch lyrical style and vulnerable, honest vocal style. 

Stylistically, while generally rooted in singer-songwriter guitar-based folk-rock, the album borrows liberally from indie rock and country (not Americana, but straight-out classic country music).  

Opener "Time For Me To Come Down" is a bittersweet call to arms, simultaneously a road trip travelogue and a woman resurfacing with both pride and wounds exposed.  From there we get a number of love songs and break-up songs, tinged with hurt and hope.  

Stand-outs include "20 Questions," a clever rewrite of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" with a woman confronting her cheating man (which cleverly suggests in the coda that maybe she's not 100% without blame); "Beer & Kisses," a heartwarming (and heartbreaking) tale of marriage and starting a family condensed into just a few minutes; and "Knapsack," an infectious crush story, just Amy and her acoustic guitar crushing on the younger guy behind the counter at the book store.

I'm also particularly drawn to "That Tone Of Voice," which breaks from the more acoustic, midtempo sound of much of the album with a raging two-chord riff (drawn from the Velvets' "Sister Ray" or Matthew Sweet's "Does She Talk") paired with a lyrical turn ("Don't look at me in that tone of voice") which would seem to be the perfect blueprint for a snarky country song.  It's truly awesome.

Here's the "Time For Me To Come Down" video:

And here's Amy with a solo performance of "20 Questions":

The album isn't up on Spotify, but here's the playlist for her greatest hits collection (feel free to skip to "Balls," probably my favorite song in her repertoire):

You can buy the album (and more) on Rigby's website.