Peter Wolf, "A Cure for Loneliness" (Concord Records)
Peter Wolf's "A Cure for Loneliness," just his third solo album since 2002, is a mostly laid-back effort reverberating with thoughtful country tones.
Wolf has kept the bar high since "Long Line," his 1996 comeback mixing rock, blues, soul and various sorts of American music. "Sleepless" was a particularly engaging effort from 2002, and this one is just a small notch below.
"Love Stinks," written with Seth Justman while they led The J. Geils Band, gets a lively bluegrass face-lift; "How Do You Know" deserves a version by ZZ Top; and "Fun for a While" echoes John Prine.
Wolf shares credit with the late Don Covay on "It's Raining," which was meant to be recorded with Bobby Womack, but turned into a tribute instead.
Wolf's late '60s stint as an eclectic DJ on Boston's legendary WBCN is reflected in his choice of covers, including tunes made famous by Moe Bandy and Lefty Frizzell, as well as Thomas Wayne's 1959 weeper, "Tragedy."
There's up-tempo material, but much of the album is like a smoky, end-of-night set on an intimate stage by a seasoned ensemble drawing more out of basic arrangements and instruments than much grander productions.
Wolf has been taking his time between albums, but it again has been worth the wait.