Penguin Eggs

Patershuk, who calls LaGlace, AB, home, reteams with guitarist/producer Steve Dawson for the followup to 2013's Outside the Lights of Town, recorded at Dawson's new Nashville digs. Whatever has changed about Dawson's facilities, the trademark intimacy and warmth of his prior work turns up here, setting Patershuk's dusky baritone against spare but tasty arrangements with fiddle, banjo and the producer's Swiss Army knife-like versatility with stringed things.

Good country music's preoccupation with heartbreak is on abundant display here, but the album gains extra heft from the mournful title track, dedicated to the sister Patershuk lost tragically in 2013, while Mean Coyotes, wafting on accordion and Dawson's piercing Weissenborn asides, embodies a Prairie bleakness that still somehow manages to be pretty.

Prettiest Ones is a singer/songwriter's homage to the power of his chosen vehicle, foregoing cheesy namechecking for a thoughtful evocation of the feelings music draws out and nurtures, If you're looking for a record to curl up with at the weary end of the day. I Was So Fond of You readily fits the bill.

- by Scott Lingley