Folk

The Staves

"Dead & Born & Grown"

Producers: Glyn Johns, Ethan Johns

Atlantic Records

Release Date: March 19

The harmonies are the main attraction on British sister trio the Staves' full-length debut. The act offers an amalgam of American and Anglo folk styles, leaning more toward the former, but the girls are hardly willowy pushovers, as evidenced by man-smashing tracks like "Pay Us No Mind," "Gone Tomorrow" and "In the Long Run." -GG

Country

Kacey Musgraves

"Same Trailer Different Park"

Producers: Kacey Musgraves, Shane McAnally, Luke Laird

Mercury Records

Release Date: March 19

While there's a definite hip factor to Musgraves' debut, the Texan has a style reminiscent of Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. "Merry Go 'Round" has already made an impact at country radio, and one listen to the suggestive yet traditional "It Is What It Is" will hook you. -CD

R&B

Lady

"Lady"

Producers: Jeff Dynamite, Leon Michels

Truth & Soul Records

Release Date: March 12

The Supremes crossed with Tina Turner. That image springs to mind listening to Lady, a hookup between South Londoner Terri Walker and Atlanta-based Nicole Wray. The pair revs up its Motown/Stax retro sound with full-bodied orchestration and edgy hip-hop beats. But the real story is Lady's raw vocal power and head-turning harmonies. -GM

Rock

Devendra Banhart

"Mala"

Producers: Devendra Banhart, Noah Georgeson

Nonesuch Records

Release Date: March 12

Banhart's eighth studio album is his most accomplished--a coherent, blissed-out ride through a stylistic maze that include '70s-influenced soft rock, tropicalia, disco and doo-wop. Using older equipment--a Tascam tape recorder, for example--gives the set a warm, lived-in and intimate feel, with an engaging playfulness throughout. -PG

Pop

Eric Clapton

"Old Sock"

Producers: Various

Bushbranch/Surfdog Records

Release Date: March 12

The album title refers to the comfort Clapton feels weaving through this genial collection of standard covers, with only two new songs. Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan and J.J. Cale make notable contributions, and the gospel-flavored "Gotta Get Over" lets Clapton breathe the guitar fire his fans most crave. -GG

Rock

Marnie Stern

"The Chronicles of Marnia"

Producers: Nicholas Vernhes

Kill Rock Stars

Release Date: March 19

Stern, notable for her guitar-tapping style, spent prior releases cutting loose, embracing a frenetic sound and often burying ideas in the process. But on "The Chronicles of Marnia," she brings songwriting to the forefront, shredding strings and coyly cooing on "Noonan" and "East Side Glory" without overcomplicating the compositions. -SJH