Jones's best albums feel like dog-eared tour maps through her fanciful psyche, composed in equal parts of barroom balladeer and graffiti artist scribbling weird poetry under the overpass at night. The Magazine was a Laura Nyro-style suite about love games and drug lifestyles; the Walter Becker-produced Flying Cowboys was the album-equivalent of a Gus Van Sant movie, dusty and peopled with dreamers riding toward a flat horizon, accompanied by Jones's buoyant or mournful melodies. While not a chatty stage performer, she's that rare musician who's actually better live. Her voice is fuller and richer, her piano and guitar more nimble and expressive . . . and her dismissal by critics all the more baffling.
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