Given a little extra crackle, you'd almost think Joe Kile's new LP on Chris Burney's upstart Eastern Watts label was some ancient artifact. But Kile, the New Orleans songwriter who lived in Columbus for a spell last decade, is a contemporary with a sepia tint.

Given a little extra crackle, you'd almost think Joe Kile's new LP on Chris Burney's upstart Eastern Watts label was some ancient artifact. But Kile, the New Orleans songwriter who lived in Columbus for a spell last decade, is a contemporary with a sepia tint.

"Southern Beauty Queen" offers simple folk songs unfettered by production flourishes and grandiose concepts, which could be a snooze if not for Kile's captivating songwriter's touch. He's an affecting Townes Van Zandt disciple, turning simple chord changes and understated twang into an intimate look inside a weary heart.

Supposedly this album was inspired by Guided by Voices, hence the occasional song fragments that stitch together Kile's more fully formed works. But other lo-fi luminaries like the Microphones come to mind when Kile gets experimental on side B, awash in droning organ like an itinerant folkie trapped in Area 51. It's the most unexpected turn on a record full of subtle surprises.