LAURA MARLING, Song for Our Daughter (Chrysalis/Partisan): ****

The British songwriter’s long demonstrated a sharp eye for telling moments that reveal worlds, and melancholy scenes related throughout her seventh album uncover deeper thematic shifts as she counsels an imaginary child. Late 1960s-early ’70s-era Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan come to mind while listening to Marling’s vocals trill, hush and rise with her elegant melodies, in cushiony arrangements of piano, fingerpicked guitar, strings, and layered harmonies — a balmy antidote to quarantine blues. Highlights: the exquisite “Blow by Blow” (“Note by note/ Bruise by bruise/ Sometimes the hardest thing to learn/ Is what you get from what you lose”), “Held Down,” “Alexandra,” “Only the Strong.” lauramarling.com

THE WHITE BUFFALO, On the Widow’s Walk (Snakefarm Records): ***

A sense of pilgrimage and characters seeking redemption connects the latest cycle of rootsy rock songs from resonant frontman Jake Smith, bassist/sometime guitarist Christopher Hoffee and drummer Matt Lynott. The Southland trio’s teamed here with producer Shooter Jennings, an astute choice whose keyboard boosts Smith’s rumbling baritone. The yearning “The Drifter” and especially “Come on Shorty” lighten the mood, while “Faster Than Fire” could be speaking to our present moment: “The flames ignite, spreadin’ hell across the earth/ Our lives are engulfed, no regard for their worth.” facebook.com/thewhitebuffalomusic

HAILU MERGIA, Yene Mircha (Awesome Tapes From Africa): ***

A six-track instrumental EP that dips into Ethiopian jazz, funk, dub, Peruvian chichi, and silky pop across its barely 35-minute span. The Ethiopian-raised accordionist/keyboardist, rooted since the 1980s in Washington, DC, focuses mostly on organ and synths, and compositions such as nostalgic opener “Semen Ena Debub” (featuring Setegn Atenaw’s mesenqo, or single-string bowed lute) and the psychedelic “Bayine La Yihedal” have a more polished, expansive flow than 2018’s “Lala Belu.” Centered around the breezy title track (a George Benson-evoking showcase for Mike Ault’s sleek guitar), it’s a welcome mood-sweetener. hailumergia.bandcamp.com

SARAH SISKIND, Modern Appalachia (Red Request): ***½

After making a name placing songs on “Nashville” and other TV shows, Siskind returned to North Carolina, a self-questioning journey reflected throughout this sonically atmospheric, beautifully written folk-pop set. Namechecking Dolly Parton, Mahalia Jackson and Bill Frisell, the title track contemplates the South’s cultural contradictions (“We’re finding out who we are”); Frisell’s watery electric guitar sets the emotional tone there and during the dreamy “Porchlight.” Rose Cousins and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon add guest harmonies elsewhere, while standouts “The One,” “In the Mountains” and “Rest in the River” find Siskind taking stock of life, the Blue Ridge, and belonging. Sarahsiskind.com