They may not be chartbusters, but these soon-to-come CDs are sound winners.
Elana James, “Elana James” (Snarf Records)
Around here, folks know her as Elana Fremerman, the fiddler in the now-defunct Hot Club of Cowtown. When that band imploded unexpectedly, she toured with Dylan for a while, contemplated a future outside music, then gathered some friends and ringers in Austin – including Johnny Gimble on fiddle/mandolin – and made this appealing record. The 13 songs include several originals and covers of Dylan (“One More Night”) and Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn (“I Don’t Mind”). The fiddle is still her forte, but her songwriting and vocals are gaining on it rapidly. (Feb. 27)