Prayer for Peace (Songs of the South): 4 STARS

Working with co-producer Boo Mitchell and a variety of guests, drummer Cody and guitarist Luther Dickinson celebrate deep Mississippi and Delta blues with this smoking, viscerally gratifying set. Luther’s snarling tone captures the raw edge of R.L. Burnside, who schooled the brothers early in their career and who’s remembered with a trio of funky hill country tunes. Other standouts include Junior Kimbrough’s hard-rocking “Need to Be Free” and Fred McDowell’s gospel groover “You Got to Move” and “61 Highway.” At the Roxy in West Hollywood Thursday, June 15.


The Dustbowl Revival (Signature Sounds): 4 STARS

“Row row row row your boat/ Winter time’s coming baby put on your coat”: Over a boisterous storm of horns, drums, fiddle and mandolin, the scrappy LA ensemble throw down a rollicking invitation to join their near-irresistible party. Fronted by Liz Beebe’s no-nonsense belting and bandleader Zach Lupetin, they take a sweet breather with “Got Over” and the easy-grooving “Honey I Love You” (featuring Keb’ Mo’), but otherwise emphasize the soul and funk force that’s deepened their sound in recent years to winning effect. Highlights: “Call My Name,” the haunting lynching tale “Don’t Wait Up,” “Busted.” Release party at Teragram Ballroom in DTLA Saturday, June 17.


The Nashville Sound (Southeastern): 3½ STARS

Someday, hopefully, Isbell will break from touring and recording to author a book of short stories; the poetic narratives he offers in song are strikingly incisive, vivid and relevant. Producer Dave Cobb keeps sonics robust but musically, “The Nashville Sound” doesn’t quite attain the heights of 2013’s superb “Southeastern” or 2015’s Grammy-winning “Something More Than Free,” though Isbell remains vocally compelling and topically covers refreshingly broad terrain: racism (urgent rocker “White Man’s World”), aging and change (“Last of My Kind”), addiction (“Chaos and Clothes”) and love (the sweetly melodic “Tupelo” and “If We Were Vampires”).


Crack-Up (Nonesuch): 2½ STARS

Six years after the Seattle folk-rockers’ existentially questing “Helplessness Blues,” Robin Pecknold & Co. deliver a curious response to contemporary life. Opening track “I Am All That I Need/Arroyo Seco/Thumbprint Scar” sets the challenging tone: instrumentally beautiful arrangements, abrupt time signature changes, and cryptic lyrics. The shimmering “Kept Woman,” “Cassius” and “If You Need To, Keep Time on Me” flirt with more conventional composition and offer flashes of light into murky gloom. Turning inward to ground oneself is a natural response amidst turmoil, but the lack of broader engagement is musically ennervating.