When Rhett Miller isn’t busy churning out first-rate roots rock in his day job with Old 97s, he keeps busy with slightly more pop-oriented first-rate roots rock as a solo act. On “The Traveler,” the Texas native offers up 12 delectable, dissect-able story-songs with premium enhancements from friends like Decemberists spinoff Black Prairie and Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of R.E.M. Miller tends to indulge his winsome side more frequently on his own, a welcome trait on “Jules” — about a woman who doesn’t need rescuing exactly, but could benefit from some lyrical love — and the sparkly acoustic jaunt “Fair Enough,” concerning the fleeting nature of a certain kind of romance. Miller has a keen ability to connect with his inner spaces, and create them for his characters, from the weary worker of “Dreams vs. Waking Life” to the sweet little drunkard of “My Little Disaster,” a woman who has “never once stifled a laugh.” Funny, poignant, melodic, and warm, Miller shows that his travels have served him well as a songwriter. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “My Little Disaster”
Rhett Miller plays Johnny D’s on Wednesday.