Angel Olsen at Rock & Roll Hotel Thursday, May 15

“Are you lonely, too? High five! So am I,” Angel Olsen moans with disarming buoyancy on the crunchy, galloping “Hi-Five,” but she’s doing more than just leavening a downer sentiment with irony and maximum forward thrust. By this point in the song, she’s already adapted a Hank Williams line—“I feel so lonesome I could cry,” sung in a pretty, distorted warble—connecting her dusty electric folk to an old tradition of lovelorn balladry. Pretty much all of Olsen’s new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, is a musical high five, but the St. Louis artist isn’t just parroting Williams—or Lucinda Williams, for that matter, or Gram Parsons, or her occasional singing partner Will Oldham. Songs like “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High & Wild” are ecstatic barnburners framing lyrics about dejection, disappointment, and isolation. “Stars” is a rusty cri de coeur that widens a personal struggle to universal scale: “I wish I had the voice of everything, to scream the animals, to scream the earth, to scream the stars out of our universe,” Olsen sings before a crash of thunder-clap percussion, guitar clang, and synthesized organ sends her sorrow sky-high. Soon she comes back down, taking us with her: “I’ll close my eyes so tightly for the world, till you could change my mind with just a smile.” Angel Olsen performs with Promised Land Sound at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $14. (202) 388-7625. rockandrollhoteldc.com.

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