William H. Travis | via his Facebook page

Singer/songwriter William H. Travis’ music has always aired on the side of bummed out, but never like this. The last we heard from him was 2013’s Port, an album whose melancholy side was tempered by its warm, inviting arrangements. Now, on his latest EP, Long Ways Down, he’s going stark and raw, and it pays off in spades.

Aside from some additional guitar and bass here and there, the focus is almost exclusively on Travis’ guitar and voice, but when extra instrumentation does creep in, it serves a more atmospheric role than a melodic one. Take the wall of guitars on the title track, which retreat during the verses and swell in the choruses to give lines like “It’s a long ways down / And I ain’t goin’ down alone” maximum emotional impact.

Meanwhile, second track “Down the Lonesome Road” is even more skeletal, highlighting the similarly solitary lyrics and Travis’ falsetto. This is followed by the heartbreaking “Keep Goin'” and personal highlight “You Knew It All Along,” which possesses the most interesting melody of the bunch. Finally, he ends things with heartfelt tribute “To Helen,” closing the EP as quietly and vulnerably as it began. You can stream it below.