LEON BRIDGES, Good Thing (Columbia): ***½

The limber crooner stays focused on matters of the heart, but where his splendid 2015 debut “Coming Home” vocally evoked Sam Cooke and ’60s Motown in arrangement, this smooth follow-up recalls early ’70s soul ensembles like the Stylistics, with seductive grooves (“Shy”) and jazz lines rippling through standout tracks “Bad, Bad News” and the saxophone-gilded “Georgia to Texas.” Co-producers Josh Block and Austin Jenkins co-wrote all but three of the 10 tracks with Bridges, and no song’s credited to fewer than four writers, which may account for this set’s more radio-ready, less personal sound. leonbridges.com

MICHAEL MCDERMOTT, Out From Under (Pauper Sky): ***

Addiction and family inform the Chicago rocker’s 11th studio album, which opens with the boozy murder saga “Cal-Sag Road” and closes with the questioning “God Help Us.” Fortified by literate lyrics, streetwise characters and emotive delivery, McDermott’s insightful blend of rootsy rock and Celtic-flavored balladry isn’t quite as potent as his Springsteen-esque 2016 Westies collaboration with fiddler/wife Heather Horton, “Six On the Out,” but listeners may find this more accessible. Highlights: “Celtic Sea,” “This World Will Break Your Heart,” “Sideways.” At Hotel Café in Hollywood Friday, May 18. michael-mcdermott.com

GRETCHEN PETERS, Dancing With the Beast (Proper): ***½

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer, who made bank penning hits for the likes of Patty Loveless and Martina McBride, follows 2015’s mortality-pondering “Blackbirds” with another handsomely arranged set peopled by wary characters exacting vengeance and savoring transient moments of grace. There’s poetry in her compact scenes of survival, from the elegiac “Arguing With Ghosts” to the politics-decrying “Lowlands” (“A man who lies just for the sake of lying/ He’ll sell you kerosene and call it hope”) and hard-gambling lover of “Truckstop Angel” (“I swallow their indifference/ But I choke on my regrets”), magnified by evocative, hummable melodies. gretchenpeters.com

SCREAMIN’ JAY HAWKINS, Are YOU One of Jay’s Kids? The Complete Bizarre Sessions 1990-1994 (Manifesto): ***

Mainstream audiences dismissed the flamboyant R&B wildman as kitsch. But three unhinged, late-career albums — 1991’s “Black Music for White People,” 1993’s “Stone Crazy” and 1994’s “Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On,” packaged with five previously unissued tracks and fittingly colorful liner notes by veteran journo Chris Morris — testify Hawkins wasn’t kitsch, just genuinely nuts. Veteran LA players muscularly balance greasy blues and rock, most winningly during Howlin’ Wolf and Ray Charles covers, producer Robert Duffey’s “Rock the House,” the fevered “Sherilyn Fenn,” and a trio of Tom Waits nuggets the showy Hawkins wailed like lived autobiography. manifesto.com