Dave Alvin’s previous disc, Public Domain, was reverent and studio-crafted, a concept CD that won a Grammy in 2000 for Best Traditional Folk Album. Recorded live at three Southern California dates, the new set is raucous, and as a concert recording it’s not as likely to grab industry honors. But it still shows the founding Blaster and former member of X in a good light, with his blistering, roots-bound guitar solos and his burly if limited vocals tackling selections from his own much-admired songbook and those of a few others. Alvin’s backing band, the Guilty Men, approximate the wattage of the Blasters on the title track, "American Music," and a version of Alvin’s thoughtful "Little Honey" melded with Bo Diddley’s churning "Who Do You Love," though the loose spirit is more characteristic of the Band than of the rockabilly outfit Alvin led with brother Phil. And though Alvin reaches way back for a Bo Carter tune and other chestnuts, the disc shines brightest on his own material, tunes like "Wanda and Duane" and the moving "Fourth of July," a semi-autobiographical tune in which he sketches tales of everyday life on the wrong side of the tracks with California’s freeways and wide-open spaces as the physical and psychic backdrop.
(Dave Alvin joins Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys next Thursday, July 18, at 608. Call 617-591-1661.)