Brooklyn’s sorta-Americana group Bel Air have released their debut album, “Pole to Pole,” a collection of songs created and first performed in the studio. The band sounds vaguely like Cowboy Junkies, but without the I-wanna-die melancholy. “This City” is country the way the Grateful Dead did country, only without the jams, while “Used to Believe” is more reminiscent of Gram Parsons. “Sometimes” is a sad country lament, but “Goodnight” is a perfect send off—a bluesy lullaby. No pretentious fake Southern accent, no forlorn honky tonk twang, nothing but an honest reflection on the miseries of urban life—“This city is killing me,” the chorus wails, and it’s easy to understand why. There’s a few guest shots by Mike “Slomo” Brenner (Magnolia Electric Company, Marah) on slide guitar, but other than that it’s all Bel Air. The roots-rocky record has 5 songs sung by Jeffrey Mensch and 5 by Allison Langerak. The latter are sweeter to listen to, as Allison’s vocals are fantastic, but the former are often better written songs. All in all, it’s a very solid release. I’m offering you two samples, one from Allison and one from Jeff.