Joel Roth has always loved ghost towns, stories about trains, murders by the river, outcasts and other extended narratives of an earlier western America. With his strong melodic sense, vivid characters and musical arrangements that lurch and sizzle, the new Low Bones album is not the same group as before, but an evolutionary upgrade that rocks harder covering lots of musical ground.

aWFTDCDBABYFRONTThe ten tracks feature Roth and a great backing band recorded at 8 Ball Studios by Rob Stroup. Instead of going in with a fully road-tested band, he started with himself, and invited friends Grant Law, Matt Cadenelli, Lewi Longmire, Jason Montgomery, Paul Brainard, Naomi Hooley and others to flesh out the tunes. The result is a tight song-cycle of twisted road tales of misfits met along the way.

Joel Roth and the Low Bones celebrate the release of the new disc, Waiting for the Dawn, February 28, at the Secret Society Ballroom, 116 NE Russell St. Fiddling songwriter Kathryn Claire will open the show and the headlining band is Root Jack. Doors open 8 pm, show at 9 pm. Tickets are $10.

If Roth is the guy in the lawnchair on the cover by the water waiting for the dawn he certainly isn’t snoozing because the music is fully awake and colorful. Whether that light behind him is the sun rising or setting is what’s to be determined. “I do believe he’ll stand tall,” Roth sings. But believing is different than knowing.”