THE GOOD STUFF, Peter Mulvey's fifteenth record, is a collection of standards which promptly rejects the accepted definition of "Standard" in favor of a more vivid, open approach. The music of Tom Waits is right there with Duke Ellington; Willie Nelson next to Thelonious Monk; Jolie Holland juxtaposed with Bill Frisell. Mulvey (along with his band, the Crumbling Beauties) address each tune with a true artist's touch. His mirthful, gravelly baritone is front and center from moment one, and every track is a master class in restraint, phrasing, and commitment. Twenty-odd years on the road, performing songs from his own catalog and from a vast, varied, and deep well of classic and obscure covers, has prepared Mulvey to deliver this collection. Night after night, the process of divining the heart of a song, being alert to where the moment can lead, has shaped him as an artist. To each rendition, he brings the soul of a singer, a light touch in a heavy world.