A great big warm hug of a record, Joan Shelley's eponymous fourth studio album is a winter coat impeccably spun from only a small handful of colours. With production provided by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and her regular collaborator Nathan Salsburg, the Louisville nightingale's latest has a noticeably deeper colour pallet than previous efforts, without ever straying into the melodramatic. It's a familiar kind of folksy, an oft-attempted hybrid of Americana and Hibernia, with as many nods to Fairport Convention as there are to fellow Kentuckian Will Oldham.

The album was recorded in just five days, at Tweedy's own Loft studio, a 5-hour drive up Interstate 65 to Chicago. Tweedy's son Spencer arrived home from college in time to provide slithers of percussion, with James Elkington adding piano and guitar. You don’t have to imagine too hard to taste the atmosphere in the session; it’s writ large in every whispering brush stroke of the snare drum. This intimacy goes a long way towards ensuring that the album succeeds in belying its one-shot credentials, filling out into 11 tracks often captured in just a few takes. There is very little sonic muddle, allowing Shelley’s forthright voice to hold centre stage.

This makes each song feel like a performance, rather than a studio-engineered collage; thematically and tonally consistent, it never reaches any higher a pitch than on the pop gem 'The Push and Pull'. A few scattered double-tracked vocals are all that song needs to propel the listener into the plasterboard and wall-carpet patchwork quilt of the recording studio. You really do feel like you're sat alongside Tweedy, hearing these songs committed to tape for the first time.

Highlights include the yearning opener 'We'd Be Home', the cool alt-country of 'Where I'll Find You' ("I blamed the wind when my legs shook/ but your eyes/ that hungry look /it shot through me /didn't you see?") and 'I Didn't Know' with its driving banjo and pinched, withdrawn electric guitar. The production is clean, but with enough texture to avoid the whole thing feeling clinical.

Shelley has definitely been here before. The album is in no way a major departure from 2014's excellent Electric Ursa, and the recurrent themes of love, loss and repressed longing are familiar to her overall output over the last five or so years. That isn't a criticism. The press notes for the album stress that the artist isn't aiming for 'bleeding edge' innovation - a brave thing to say at the outset and to many critics and first time listeners. Consistency is the watchword.

Because of this, Joan Shelley remains a largely satisfying record with some moments of true magic, despite not ostentatiously breaking any new ground. If the singer hasn't already won herself a committed following, she should have by the time the needle lifts on her fourth long player. The drive up to the Windy City was worthwhile; we’ll see if she decides to steer a stranger course next time.