A good songwriter can get inside a character – themselves or someone else, real or imagined – and let us see inside their lives. We listeners get to walk a mile in their shoes, an often uncomfortable journey that makes us think and feel and maybe feel grateful for the cushiness of our own shoes. There's tons of this kind of songwriting on display in this week's new releases. Gretchen Peters features a different female character in each of her new album's 11 songs, Pharis and Jason Romero offer characters with hope amid the chaos, Jason Boland keeps it red-dirt real, and Courtney Barnett makes it personal. Check out our reviews of those releases and many more in our new releases slideshow and on our reviews page (see tab at top of page).