In these times of big government and artistic apathy, the world is surely in need of Ani DiFranco’s refined one-two musical punch on Reprieve, if only because no one else seems to be stepping up. The instrumentation is sparser, with DiFranco on guitar and one Todd Sickafoose on acoustic bass and miscellaneous percussion instruments, but the disc sounds fuller than you’d expect. The first three tracks see DiFranco going heavily introspective with a quiet, welcome sort of maturity. It’s beautiful, albeit not as in-your-face as what we’ve seen from her in the past. DiFranco speaks her piece on politics on ‘Decree’ heading back to her acoustic folk roots and her slam on the media with their “90 second segments officially produced/while the stars are going out and the stripes are getting bent.” The title track is a spoken-word ode to Manhattan, Katrina and Feminism, making parallels and projections succinctly and poignantly. The little folksinger is now 36, but just as on target as she was as the punchy 19 year old who came to Manhattan so long ago.