In 2011, Drew Kennedy published his first book, Fresh Water in the Salton Sea, which was also the name of his fifth album. Wide Listener, his sixth album, continues the troubadour’s literary ways with songs that further explore his take on life as the years go by. (Patty Loveless has also recorded his songs.) Here, “Age and Color” is an uptempo tune that sounds like a country bar band getting loose and sounding more assured with each passing year—but with lyrics that take things a bit harder. “Good Carpentry” immediately pulls back into slower territory where the pedal steel overrules all else and Kennedy accepts that a good craftsman is something to admire. Guitars, keyboards, smart backing vocals, a tight rhythm section—all the traditional things that make a solid record—come together here with simple grace. “Venice via Postcard” and “Sleeping Alone” capture a spiritual loneliness that’s hard to dismiss.