TANIKA CHARLES, The Gumption (Record Kicks): **½

The Juno-nominated Canadian soul artist turns to ’60s Motown for inspiration; “Love Overdue” and the harmony-draped “Upside Down” snappily evoke the Supremes, while “Remember to Remember” nods to Lipps, Inc.’s ’70s chestnut “Funkytown.” The overloaded “Cadillac Moon” veers off the road, but tracks like “Cool Scorpio,” the ska-kissed “First & Last” and Marlon James-composed “Always Restless” showcase Charles’ tonal warmth and lightly precise touch while stylistically bridging generations with electronically sculpted arrangements. tanikacharles.com

CAROLINE SPENCE, Mint Condition (Rounder): ****

Like her performances and poetic songwriting, Spence’s lack of pretension informs her third full-length album. Less haunting, more assured than 2017’s sublime “Spades & Roses,” it finds the Virginia native stretching as composer (“Who Are You”) and vocalist (the soulful “Wait on the Wine”) with the instincts of a gambler unfolding a handful of aces, as guitarist Dan Knobler’s discerning fretwork complements her graceful melodies and acoustic playing. “Sometimes a Woman is an Island,” “Who’s Gonna Make My Mistakes,” “Sit Here and Love Me” and “Angels or Los Angeles” smolder with earned wisdom, while Emmylou Harris’ harmony on the lilting title track signals benediction of integrity and song. carolinespencemusic.com

RHIANNON GIDDENS, There is No Other (Nonesuch): ****

A worthy meeting of border-bridging spirits between Americana luminary Giddens and Italian jazz multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, recorded in Dublin. The thought-provoking material and Giddens’ rich vocal tones are well served by the clarity of Joe Henry’s production, and unobtrusive arrangements of banjo, frame drum, accordion, and cello (courtesy of Irish cellist Kate Ellis). Yearning for connection binds the songs, from Giddens’ “Ten Thousand Voices” through Appalachian traditional “Wayfaring Stranger,” the gorgeous “Trees on the Mountains,” Oscar Brown Jr.’s “Brown Baby,” and closer “He Will See You Through,” the crystal notes of Turrisi’s piano during the latter girding grief with hope like melodic balm. rhiannongiddens.com

SOUTHERN AVENUE, Keep On (Concord): ***

“You get what you put out/ You’ve gotta keep on,” declares frontwoman Tierinii Jackson on the title track, imprinting this Blues Music Award-winning Memphis quintet’s sophomore album with a rousing statement of purpose. It leads this confident follow-up to their self-titled 2017 debut, polished with dynamic performances (and guests like William Bell and horn-playing alumnus of Gregg Allman’s and J.J. Grey’s bands) that comfortably occupy the nexus of blues, R&B and gospel. Those performancesoutshine the songs, but standouts like the title track, “The Tea I Sip,” “We’ve Got the Music” and swoony “We’re Gonna Make It” promisingly point upward. southernavenuemusic.com