(Concord): 3 Stars
At 36, already a veteran player with a Grammy to his name, Lang’s weathered enough hard living and defeated expectations to imbue his first album since 2013’s “Fight for My Soul” with gravitas beyond his years. No longer straight-up blues in the mold of guitar heroes like Luther Allison, Lang proves his fret-burning mettle with blues-rockers like the galvanizing “Make It Move,” “Snakes” and “Wisdom” but also believably rocks, testifies, and croons in romantic falsetto (“Bring Me Back Home”). His live-truthfully message is genuine, though sometimes his grab-you-by-the-ears rasp makes slick songs sound more soulful than they deserve.


KRYSTLE WARREN, Three the Hard Way (Parlour Door): 4 Stars
Now based in Paris, the Kansas City-raised songwriter and multi-instrumentalist addresses questions of faith, injustice and race as blues, gospel, jazz and soul elements underscore her themes throughout this earthy, deeply satisfying set. Teamed with D’Angelo producer Ben Kane, Warren balances electronic grooves with hand-clapped percussion, and doubt with gratitude, the uncluttered elegance of arrangements amplifying her alto’s expressive warmth. Highlights: the Tulsa Massacre-inspired “Red Clay,” “Thanks and Praise,”  “Move” (“Half of the people are strong and the other half are waiting for the next election”).


LONE BELLOW,Walk Into a Storm
(Masterworks Broadway): 3½ Stars
Recording with ubiquitous producer Dave Cobb in their new hometown of Nashville, the Brooklyn-born trio — now augmented by drummer Justin Glasco and multi-instrumentalist Jason Pipkin — reach for anthemic fullness. The acoustic-textured title track showcases bandleader Zach Williams’ stirring lead vocals and signature harmonies with Kanene Pipkin and guitarist Brian Elmquist, but uplifting numbers like gospel-inflected opener “Deeper in the Water,” “Between the Lines,” “Feather” (with Kanene singing gutsy lead) and string-overloaded “May You Be Well” split the difference between rootsy Americana dynamics and commercial country gloss. At Grammy Museum in Downtown LA Monday, Sept. 11. Free concert from “Jimmy Kimmel Live” outdoor stage Sept. 12; RSVP at


AUBREY LOGAN, Impossible (Fuel): 3 Stars
Between tours with Postmodern Jukebox, the local singer/trombonist made this handsomely produced platter showcasing her stylistic and vocal range. “Louboutins” and the snappy “Pity Party” display her knack for metaphors, melodic hooks and humor cut with deeper messaging. It’s sophisticated pop with a strong jazz sensibility; even her playful, scat-like cover of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” displays the commandingly light touch and precise intonation of a seasoned jazz stylist, as does her soulful duet with Casey Abrams on the Mamas & Papas classic “California Dreamin’.”