THE SEXTONES, Moonlight Vision

(self-released): 4 STARS

An analog recording rooted in 1970s soul and funk (think Heatwave, Maze, Al Green) that’s surprisingly refreshing. The Reno-based quartet is sufficiently schooled in genre licks and traditions to understand when to hew close to smooth groove templates (the Neal Cassady-referencing “How Could I Have Known”) and to also feel comfortable enough to mix in unexpected elements (the sitar bassist Alexander Korostinsky pulls out for romantic pledge “Home is You”). Highlights: the enticing “Goodbye Yesterday” (“Take the long way home, ignore the clock”), horn-punctuated “Blame It On My Youth.”

MATT URMY, Out of the Ashes

(Tritone): 4 STARS

The sometime poet (and CEO) might attract fans of Lyle Lovett and avowed hero John Prine, whose weathered rasp grounds the gospel-ribbed title track. The late Cowboy Jack Clement, who co-produced, brings similar gravitas to the persuasive “We Must Believe in Magic.” Urmy’s own vocals are tonally reminiscent of Shawn Mullins though limited in range; pedal steel and roadhouse piano burnish his country-folk melodies without distracting from his evocative imagery and witty, metaphoric turns of phrase. Highlights: “Cup of Grace,” the lulling “Easy Train,” “Gotta Be True.”

JENNY GILL, The House Sessions

(self-released): 3 STARS

“I’ve got to find a dream that will shine on its own/ In the light of your shadow.” So sings Nashville artist Gill, in rich tones distinct from producer-dad Vince Gill’s country twang. It’s the emotional highlight of this polished EP, recorded at her dad’s home studio with heavy hitters like Sheryl Crow (harmonies) and bassist Willie Weeks and drummer Greg Morrow, whose rubbery grooves roll winning tracks like self-described Bonnie Raitt homage “Lean on Love” and “Look Where Loving You Landed Me” closer to Memphis than Nashville.

CARY MORIN, Cradle to the Grave

(Maple Street): 3.5 STARS

Morin’s fluid fingerpicking commands respectful attention, as does his melodic reconstruction of outside material like Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Phish’s “Back on the Train.” Most of these 11 blues and folk tracks are the Colorado-based guitarist’s own tasteful compositions — what he calls “acoustic native Americana” — and while his stories have substance, what holds greatest sway is his rhythmically alluring fretwork. Highlights: the quasi-mystical “Ghost Dog,” “Watch Over Me,” “Dawn’s Early Night” (“When a treaty falls in the forest, nobody in sight/ Will there be no compromise, will we all stand up and fight?”).