Merge Records has this up-and-comer named Conor Oberst. Have you heard of him? Heâ€™s been in all sorts of bands or something. Now heâ€™s releasing a self-titled album, which would make you think that itâ€™s just him and a guitar but really he has this group called the Mystic Valley Band, which is a trip because itâ€™s talking about the valley in Mexico where the album was recorded when you would think, from listening to â€œDanny Callahan,â€ that it was recorded in a not-so-mystic valley closer to Oberstâ€™s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Much of the album has that same vibe: reflective roadhouse ballads with rousing instrumentation and lush lyricism. This Conor Oberst fella writes some decent songs. He might just have a future. You heard it here first.