Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week's CD releases Diana Jones,"Song To A Refugee" (Proper)- This deeply affecting offering from acclaimed singer-songwriter Diana Jones explores the parlous plights of the countless refugees whose lives have been dislocated by their attempts to cross the US-Mexico border in search of prosperity, peace and freedom. Jones' typically spare and sorrowful song cycle is expertly underpinned here by multi-instrumentalist and co-producer David Mansfield and guest contributors Steve Earle, Richard Thompson and Peggy Seeger.

Strawbs,"Settlement" (Cherry Red)- The Strawbs' highly distinctive blend of prog and folk rock influences has been delighting their loyal band of devotees for well over half a century now, and "Settlement" finds David Cousins and company in particularly fine fettle as they deliver their collective response to the troubled times that we're all living through at the moment. Former Strawbs keyboards ace Blue Weaver handled the production duties from his home studio in Germany as the participants made their remote contributions to a compelling set which also featured the dulcet tones of inventive bass player and long term New York resident John Ford, who was the creative driving force behind the band's biggest singles success,"Part of the Union," long long ago in 1973.

Kate Jacobs,"55$ Hotel" (East Central One)- "55$ Hotel" marks the return to recording activity of New Jersey based singer-songwriter and bookshop owner Kate Jacobs, and a more eclectic and effortlessly melodic collection would be difficult to imagine. Kate released her debut album long long ago in 1992 but family life has tended to take precedence over her music-making activities in more recent years, making the appearance of this splendid set all the more welcome. The eminently tuneful contents draw on elements of jazz, bossa nova and country, with the tragi-comic title track emerging as the best of an engaging bunch.