"I left Arizona for Tulsa, Oklahoma, wound up in Tennessee," Namoli Brennet sings on "Dust on the Radio," one of the highlights of her new album, a document of playing on the road over the course of six months and 20,000 miles. It includes songs from some of the Tucson-based singer-songwriter's nine previous albums as well as some new tunes.
Whether they were recorded in concert in California, Indiana, Oregon, Texas, Montana or Massachusetts; on the radio in Iowa; or at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle, all the performances here are stripped-down and moving. They sound as good with Brennet simply singing, playing acoustic guitar and kicking a tambourine as they do in more-elaborate arrangements on her studio albums.
The rhythmic and haunting "Settle Down," from 2011's We Were Born to Rise, was recorded at a songwriting circle in Chandler, and you can hear the intimate echo of the environment. Brennet gets kind of epic on the six-minute jam "I Will Get Along," into which she inserts lyrics from Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."
Brennet isn't always alone. Michael Connoly contributes lively mandolin-playing to "Rough Enough" and "Isn't That Enough." And Kari Newhouse joins in on the gorgeous "Good Life," with both women weaving a gorgeous spell of vocal harmonies and delicate guitar-picking.