SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, Soul of a Woman (Daptone): 4½ Stars

Recorded on good days in the year before she succumbed to pancreatic cancer last November, the soul diva’s final album, produced by Dap-Kings bassist Bosco Mann, prominently features string sections recalling ’60s and ’70s soul. Jones is alternately tender, playful, yearning and defiant, and in stubbornly strong voice. That resilience deepens the poignancy of tracks like “Pass Me By,” “Searching for a New Day,” and “Just Give Me Your Time” (“I’m outside your door/ I don’t mind the rain/ I’m just waiting and waiting and waiting/ For an end to this pain”). When she laughs softly at the end of her gritty gospel closer “Call on God,” it’s heartrending. sharonjonesandthedapkings.bandcamp.com/album/soul-of-a-woman

CELSI, BRAGG & MAITLAND, The Road to Glasglow (Steel Derrick): 3 Stars

A transatlantic compilation of concert performances, new and previously unreleased tracks from Anny Celsi, Brian Wilson percussionist Nelson Bragg and Dublin-based popster Duncan Maitland. The patchwork feel adds to its beguiling charm, boosted by ’60s-evoking harmonies and the melodic bounce of mostly sunny pop. Celsi has a particular knack for crafting coolly incisive stories ribbed with sturdy hooks. Highlights: cheery Celsi-Bragg duet “Own Sweet Time,” Maitland’s ’90s hit (with Picturehouse) “Heavenly Day,” Celsi’s eerie “Bright Light of Glasgow,” an ingratiating cover of Peter Holsapple’s bittersweet “Hollywood Waltz.” steelderrickmusic.com

RICH KRUEGER, Life Ain’t That Long  (RockInk): 3½ STARS

Veteran Chicago guitarist/pianist Krueger delivers a winningly unpretentious, lyric-focused set that plugs in at the intersection where folk, rock and melodic pop jawbone and flip off genre distinctions. Country fiddle, R&B sax, gospel piano and harmonies make satisfying musical sense backdropping Krueger’s free-ranging perspectives. Highlights: “Stoopid Broken Heart” (“No one wants to break down with a stranger/ So that’s why God made bars and girl bar singers and one-night cheap motels”), “Can’t See Me in This Light,” bonus Christmas track “It’s That Time Again.” RIYL Robbie Fulks and Randy Newman. rockinkmusic.com, richkrueger.com

ANDREW BIRD, Echolocations: River (Wegawam): 3½ STARS

Following 2015’s “Echolocations: Canyon,” Bird pursues his environmentally conscious muse to LA River, where he recorded this graceful instrumental set. Street traffic crossing overhead sounds like another river in muffled counterpoint to rippling water and Bird’s plucked and bowed violin. It’s contemplative, cathartic, and a far cry from his early work with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. When you’re caught in freeway gridlock or feeling weighed down by the gravity of daily headlines, cue up “The Cormorats” and “Down Under the Hyperion Bridge.” andrewbird.net