Southeast Engine's core membership of singer-songwriter Adam Remnant and drummer Leo DeLuca has been making a go of it since 1999, which is long enough for most bands to run a few good ideas into the ground. And while this band has stumbled into some dead ends and false starts over the years, Athens' leading folk-rock enterprise (now with members in Columbus and Dayton) seems to be just hitting its stride.

Having mined varying degrees of success over the years from bar-band twang, indie rock anthems and fidgety prog-folk, Southeast Engine honed its signature sound to near-perfection on last yearís Canary, a conceptual piece that drew style and subject matter from the bandís native Appalachia.

Canaanville, that albumís four-song companion piece, continues to corral Southeast Engineís greatest strengths: engaging storytelling, smart but snappy arrangements, and indelible melodies from Adam Remnantís cracked and weathered vocal cords. Letís not forget his brother Jesseís gorgeous harmonies, either.

In stark contrast to the dress-up folk epidemic thatís taking the nation by storm, this is refreshingly genuine and just as raw as it needs to be. Itís music born from a troubled region that uses reverence for that landís history as a vehicle for stirring the soul.

Noah Rabinowitz photo