Willis Earl Beal’s sophomore record, Nobody knows., is now streaming via the Guardian alongside a fascinating piece with new facts about his life before music. According to Beal, he was “court-martialed several times” after joining the army at 22, homeless in Albuquerque at 23, and saved by singing (plus, whiskey and therapy) in recent years. “I hate my backstory,” he adds, making a point to defuse potential romanticizing of mental illness. But that said, Beal does seem ready to share how a troubled past haunts these songs, particularly those culled from 130 written during harder times. He’s one of those rare enigmatic artistis who become even harder to pin down the more they purport to reveal. We’ve heard the Cat Power collaboration “Coming Through” and LP standout “Too Dry To Cry” before, but take it all in above. “Wavering Lines” — an a capella tune met with a “Street Hassle”-like cello — is one of the best opening tracks of the year.