Terri Allard is used to hearing that she doesn’t write songs like somebody raised and still rooted in rural Virginia. (She currently calls Crozet, Va., home.) Musically speaking, her self-penned material is provincial enough, but some listeners find Allard’s lyrics surprisingly urbane. “I generally write a lot about social issues,” says Allard, “which is probably why everybody wants to compare me to Mary Chapin Carpenter.” The comparisons also result from Allard’s choice of backing musicians: The list of one-time Carpenter backers who show up on Allard’s fine debut, Terri Allard, includes guitarist Pete Kennedy, drummer Robbie Magruder, and bassist Rico Petruccelli. The album oozes social consciousness (“Never Ceases to Amaze Me,” “Goin’ Down”), but Allard comes across as cosmopolitan even when she’s poking fun at city life: “Metro Train” details the melancholy musings of a country gal who’s tired of commuting on D.C.’s sterile mass transit system. Allard makes an in-store appearance at Borders’ Bailey’s Crossroads outlet on June 30. The disc is available by mail ($15 for CD, $12 for cassette, includes shipping) through Reckless Abandon Music, P.O. Box 592, Crozet, VA 22932.