Seven Days

Larry Allen Brown now hails from Brattleboro. He's an author and teacher and once published an instructional DVD titled "Open Tuning for the Guitar." His third album, Covered Bridges, is a collection of mellow acoustic ballads in the vein of folk singers Woody Guthrie, John Fahey and Dave Van Ronk — all of whom Brown claims as influences.

Much of the album's charm comes from its talented ensemble, the Acoustic Earth Orchestra. It includes local musicians Bill Martin, Eugene Friesen, Charlie Bisharat, Jeff Haynes, Tony Levin, Steve Holley, Bob McCarthy and Tom Eaton.

Tracks were recorded at Will Ackerman's nearby Imaginary Road Studios, as well as at Squam Sound in Ashland, N.H.

Brown's storytelling takes center stage throughout. He doles out sage commentary that reflects his years of experience and various travels. At times, his writing borders on cloying. But lyrically, his yarns want for nothing. They move at a hearty clip and don't get too bogged down in handing down life lessons.

"Same old story" is full of melancholy remembrances and fear that life has passed him by. Friesen's cello follows along like a dark, looming shadow. Brown sings, "So tell me something good / Come on / Make me feel alive / Let me know I mattered / I did more than just survive."

On the other end of the spectrum is the hopeful "Just around the bend." Here Brown seeks to recapture the simplicity of yesterday. Over finger-picked guitars, he catalogs the resilience of his younger days: "Life seemed so much easier way back then / All we did was turn the page and start again."

Covered Bridges is available at CD Baby.