Jeff Przech has come a long way in three years. His rootsy 2015 album "Sounds Like Fresh" (that is, how to pronounce his last name) was the work of a potentially promising Americana singer who didn't quite have the songwriting chops to match his lived-in voice. He's much sharper on his second album, "Jeff Przech & the Outfit."
Where the songs on his debut seemed to meander, these nine new originals (and one cover) are more tightly focused, much catchier and a stronger showcase for Przech's voice. The Unionville, Conn., singer hits the middle ground here between gruff and soulful, with a tone that is often reminiscent of Gregg Allman. There are traces of honky-tonk in the bright lead guitar parts on opener "Maribelle" and the trebly licks on "Second Favorite Memory," and Przech threads his voice through the blustery guitars on "Cold November" like he's been doing it on roadhouse stages for years. He takes a more wistful tack on "Four Letter Words," a song that's nostalgic for better, bygone days, and the combination of his rough-edged voice and whirring organ on "Coy" has an especially Allman-esque feel.
The album ends with a cover of "The Weight" by the Band, and though it's a classic song with a stately pedigree (see also: the Staple Singers), it feels like an outlier. Przech's own material here is solid (and just different) enough that he could have capped things off with one last original and left "The Weight" for his live shows. That quibble aside, his new album is a worthwhile second effort from a musician who's only getting better at what he does.