I’ll See You Again
American Rural Records

A Minnesota native who drifted down to Austin and then a bit further south, Hill Country folk singer Mark Jungers has unassumingly built up a mighty catalog of original work since his still-stunning 2000 solo debut, Black Limousine. He’s working a niche within a niche, to be sure – folks who dig Robert Earl Keen and John Prine but want a deeper peek into literate, soulful modern folk would do well to start with Jungers – and seems to acknowledge it with his approach by shrinking things down to a spare-room studio vibe. It served him well on 2011’s appealingly swampy More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat, and it strikes the right tone again on this relatively autumnal, even-more-laconic-than-usual set of songs. Thematically, I’ll See You Again plays out like a veritable concept album, with the jilted lover of “I’ll Be Home” forsaking said house (“Don’t Want to Live Here Anymore”), ruminating over reconciliation (“Do You Still Care”) and the heartaches of history both local (“Johnson’s Farm”) and personal (“Plywood & Strings”) before giving in to a sort of stoic, resilient loneliness (the closing “Ran Out of Tears,” perhaps the record’s finest moment). And though Jungers’ drawl might be more Fargo than Fort Worth, it hits home just as surely as his better-known peers. — MIKE ETHAN MESSICK