Ken Stringfellow is a multifarious talent. Whether it's with his on-again, off-again, apparently on-again hard pop band the Posies or pitching in with R.E.M. and the Orange Humble Band or on his lonesome in a more experimental mode (1997's "This Sounds Like Goodbye" is definitely outre), the flame-haired musician has demonstrated he's got as many facets as a fly's eye. Now out of the remnants of his never-quite-got-off-the-ground Saltine project comes this latest solo venture. Adroitly produced by Mitch Easter, "Touched" is filled with plaintive songs and gentle melodies, as on the country-tinged opener "Down Like Me" or on the ruminative "Find Yourself Alone." Momentarily separated from the vocal interaction of Posies partner Jon Auer, Stringfellow's voice takes center stage; although it's a high, clear and ringing instrument, it still conveys the intended pain and desperation on tracks like "Reveal Love" and "The Lover's Hymn." Plumbing both the depths of despair and the high peaks of hope, this is an album that's touched with beauty and grace.