CEDRIC BURNSIDE, Benton County Relic (Single Lock): ***½

Recently nominated for a Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy alongside blues and rock heroes (Buddy Guy, Ben Harper), Burnside, who first earned notice playing drums behind grandfather R.L. Burnside, ably carries forward the family tradition of flouting convention while honoring Mississippi hill country forebears. Leaner than 2015’s “Descendants of Hill Country,” his fifth album’s defined by the gritty tones of his electric guitar; drummer/sometime slide guitarist Brian J. keeps rhythms taut and tough while Burnside channels deep blues with conviction. Highlights: the haunting “Hard to Stay Cool,” “Death Bell Blues,” “Ain’t Gonna Take No Mess.” cedricburnside.net

MONTEAGLE, Midnight Noon (Fire Talk Records): ****

Justin Giles Wilcox’s thoughtful keeper of a solo project’s more rustic than his dreamy folk collaborations with Jeffrey Silverstein in Nassau but likewise builds atmosphere, in this case via instrumental simplicity and field sounds. The recording’s sonic warmth and the Brooklyn-based songwriter’s mellow, regular-Joe vocals draw listeners into intelligent lyrics threaded with imagery from his Tennessee upbringing. Highlights: “East LA,” “Master,” the War On Drugs-evoking “Motel,” “Hollow Ground” (“Fallen leaves look like people I’ve known/ And mothers bend like willows over a Southern child”). monteaglemusic.com

EVER MORE NEST, The Place That You Call Home  (Parish Road): ***

Louisiana artist Kelcy Mae’s compelling new project magnifies her trademark poeticism with a broader instrumental palette courtesy of a band attuned to her sense of the transcendent and of place. Producer Neilson Hubbard dials in scenic waves of pedal steel, gentle percussion and mandolin flourishes that nicely frame Mae’s distinctive warble as she scans her surroundings for human stories and cosmic inspiration. Highlights: the otherworldly “Unraveling,” “Gimme That,” “Major Tom” (“I search the stars for a sign/ I’m asking questions all the time/ But this world, it’s a circle/ No, it ain’t no line”). evermorenest.com


Fans of the Roxy Music leader’s splendid 2012 solo album “The Jazz Age” (whose “Reason or Rhyme” is reprised here) should appreciate this handsomely arranged set. Divided between Ferry contributions to the Netflix drama “Babylon Berlin” and stylish redos of material from his prolific solo catalogue, the album showcases Ferry’s enduring love of 1920s-’30s jazz alongside his tasteful changeability. Not as effervescent as “The Jazz Age,” but a sprightly “Sign of the Times” and “Dance Away” sparkle with flapper-esque charm, while tango soul infuses the mournful “Zamba” and “Boys and Girls.” bryanferry.com