From the first moody guitar strums of “Blue Vein,” I was completely charmed by the world of Lael Neale’s latest album, Acquainted with Night. The magic word with Neale is roots; the singer-songwriter hails from rural Virginia, a clear deduction based on her uncomplicated, folk musical textures and honey vocals. On the aforementioned album opener, vocal hints of Liz Phair and Silver Jews collide with the gospel-tinged organ, literally elevating the song to spiritual heights as Neale whines, “I’m gonna fly!” Track two, “Every Star Shivers in the Dark,” introduces the album’s key musical motif: the Omnichord. Neale structures Acquainted with Night around this distinctive instrument, similar to the musical atmospheres crafted by Brian Eno. The lyrical genius of Lael Neale is showcased in her relation to the instrumental environments she has conceived. Neale’s lyrics are vulnerable, understated and interior, like secretly scrawling poems into a notebook. In “Third Floor Window,” Neale seeks external guidance on internal understanding: “And when the morning papers tell / The only stranger is yourself.” The lush soundscapes around these lyrics do not overwhelm, but ironically, draw out the intoxicating vocals of Neale even more — an extended metaphor for the healing qualities of nature for the soul. In songs like “For No One For Now,” beauty clashes and coexists with mundanity. I think of the works of one of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Bishop, especially her collection Geography III. Both Bishop and Neale cherish privacy as a method of introspection, centering their art around a deep understanding of the female psyche. The whispered mission statement of the album seems to be finding serenity within yourself, tying together the poetic familiarity of the omnichord with Neale’s effortless songwriting. Neale practices what she preaches, crooning in “Sliding Doors & Warm Summer Roses,” “I’m never lonesome.” Listening to Acquainted with Night is like tracing over the letters of your best friend’s diary entries, peeking into the mind of a fellow woman or human or lover.