HARLEM PARLOUR MUSIC CLUB, Salt Of the Earth—There’s something to be said for roots music being made for all the right reasons. The Harlem Parlour Music Club sings it like they love it from the assembled multitude’s hearts and souls, without a scintilla of the studied or the snobbish about it. The liner copy lists no less than 15 pickers and singers of various stripes as HPMC members, and collectively they describe themselves in a press release as an “Appalachian big band!” So there is little here of a spare or stark nature, but it is also, for the multiplicity of participants, without clutter, the instruments clearly defined sonically, but on a pure, gut level, together, and sounding very right and real.

JETT’S CREEK, GuiltyWith one celebrated album to its name (2008’s Supposed To Be), the Lebanon, Ohio-based family band known as Jett’s Creek is unlikely to surprise anyone with Guilty. To put a fine point on it, let’s say there’s unlikely a soul so dead as to be unimpressed or unmoved by the authority, the conviction and/or the unceasing displays of impeccable musicianship and emotionally compelling singing suffusing Guilty.

THE JOHN HARTFORD STRINGBAND, Memories of John—This entire album underscores how unique a man John Hartford was, how durable his music remains, and how profoundly his loss is felt to this day. But he’s here, spiritually present in every note his friends play and sing, and abiding in spirit in the gifts his music bequeathed to eternity. Listen closely, and you can even hear his song in the muscular blasts from the steamboat smokestacks along the mighty Mississippi. Roll on, big river.

NU-BLUE, NightsNu-Blu’s debut album is not merely good, it’s a blessing for fans of traditional bluegrass.

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