MARGO PRICE, All American Made (Third Mans): 4 STARS

Like last year’s extravagantly praised “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” the Illinois-raised songstress evokes trad-country heroes like Loretta Lynn with plainspoken songs like “Cocaine Cowboys” and “Pay Gap” (“Why don’t you do the math/ …Ripping my dollars in half”). Willie Nelson lends weathered gravitas to poetic duet “Learning to Lose,” while the gospel-harmonizing McCrary Sisters help take “Do Right By Me” to R&B church. Tentatively political, Price dresses the thoughtful title track with Bill Clinton farm-speech clips and illuminates lost childhood innocence with reference to “Reagan selling weapons to the leaders of Iran.” Contrasts between her sweet twang and flint-sharp words, jaunty full-band honky-tonk and acoustic introspection, form a compelling hook.

JACKIE SHANE, Any Other Way  (Numero Uno): 4 STARS

To be black and transgender in Jim Crow Nashville was to be essentially voiceless, but Shane, who identified as a woman in a man’s body by 13 and whose orientation was reportedly an open secret, declined to be silenced by convention. Rob Bowman’s fine liner notes detail her remarkable backstory in this box set pairing one disc of 1960s recordings — the William Bell-composed title track was a 1963 hit in Canada — with the gospel-schooled soul diva’s live album of spirited Bobby “Blue” Bland, James Brown and Eddie Floyd covers. They’ve aged well, as have Shane’s empowering midsong raps, thanks to her Little Willie John-meets-Jackie Wilson vitality.

BECK, Colors  (Fonograph/Capitol): 2½ STARS

The quirky troubadour takes a vaguely upbeat dance-pop turn, but smooth surfaces and clever arrangements only go so far. The retro ’80s feel of clubby tracks “No Distraction” and the pan pipe-dotted title tune bring Fine Young Cannibals and Thompson Twins to mind. But despite rhythmically engaging standouts like “Dear Life” and the bubbly “Seventh Heaven,” it sounds like what bounces blandly out of the radio while film characters banter onscreen. When they dash off to pursue the next plot twist, the songs leave no memorable trace.

EILEN JEWELL, Down Hearted Blues (Signature Sounds): 3 STARS

Known for tasteful restraint, Jewell’s cool where blues singers burn, draining passion from Willie Dixon vehicles designed to convey raw emotion. She’s most convincing with folk tracks like Memphis Minnie’s “Nothing in Rambling” and Fiddlin’ John Carson’s lightly swinging “The Poor Girls Story.”  Impeccable arrangements, an ace band, and Curtis Stigers’ throbbing saxophone on Alberta Washington’s “You Gonna Miss Me” make for pleasant listening, but Jewell’s crisp phrasing and bell-toned clarity are better suited to jazz — or blues for those who don’t