CD Reviews

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Brownsville Station – Still Smokin’

As the band behind the classic 1970s rock hit “Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room,” Michigan-based Brownsville Station saw many of their dreams come true. The group stayed together until the end of the decade before disbanding, with the band members going their separate ways. Each went on to successful endeavors, including radio and record production. Cub Koda, the band’s ever-so-peronable vocalist, passed away from kidney disease in 2000. However...
 
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LiveWire – Livin

LiveWire is a group that has been perfecting their craft for quite some time. Their new album shows a huge development in their singing, songwriting, and overall musicianship. This disc should raise their career to a new level, as the songs and the production are there. All it needs is to be heard by the masses. The opening cut, “Don’t Nothin’ Take My Breath,” has a huge amount of swagger that lead singer Andy Eutsler handles with a great deal of confidence. The tempo continues on tracks like “Whiskey Sunday,” which reminds me of material from...
 
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Jason Aldean – Night Train

Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated albums of the year is the fifth studio album from Broken Bow’s Jason Aldean. His previous disc, My Kinda Party, helped to propel his career into the stratosphere, and I have a feeling that he’s only just beginning to attain the success that he is meant for. There’s an old showbiz saying that says “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and Aldean definitely follows those instructions here. He simply continues to do what he...
 
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Darren Jay & The Delta Souls – Drink My Wine

Darren Jay is based in Memphis, Tennessee. That is very apparent when you listen to the Blues-Rock sounds on this disc. He alternates between goodtime Rock & Roll on the opening “Rider” and the wailing Blues tones on the lifting title cut. He manages to shift between each style in an almost seamless manner, and make the listener the better for it. This album is chock full of highlights, with one of the top moments being the feel good...
 
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Cledus T. Judd – Parodyziac!!

Though there was Sheb Wooley / Ben Colder, Homer & Jethro, and others before them, Cledus T. Judd took the Country song parody and lifted into an art form in the 1990. There was no artist too big for Judd to take on with his talents, and most even joined right in. Shania Twain, Joe Diffie, and Brooks & Dunn all even joined in the fun over the years. Judd has been keeping busy with his radio career at WQYK in Tampa over the past few years, and has not released an album at some time. Wisely, the
 
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Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps – Come On Home

I’ve got a confession to make – I believe in ghosts. I’ve never been to a séance for one simple reason: I’m afraid I'd get the chills when the medium started speaking in the voices of the dead. With Teresa James’ new blues project, Come On Home, I feel like I’m at that séance and Ms. James is vocally channeling a number of the genre's legendary performers on this album including Janis Joplin, Etta James (no relation) and more. From the moment James’ voice rings out on “Come On Home To Me,” until the last...
 
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Kristine W – New & Number Ones

To say that Kristine W has accomplished some significant achievements in her life is an understatement: crowned Miss Washington; a scholarship and award winner at the Miss America pageant; songwriter; Las Vegas performer and international recording artist. With all that experience under her belt, it’s no wonder she’s turned out a rockin’ Electronic Dance Music album titled New & Number Ones. From the moment the opening track’s pulsating beat pounds out of the bass speakers to the last note on the CD, the album is one continuous surge that keeps your heartbeat racing and your feet wanting to...
 
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Jamey Johnson – Livin’ For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran enjoyed one of the most prolific songwriting careers in Music City, penning hits by artists ranging from Patsy Cline to Eddy Arnold to George Strait to Vern Gosdin. Among the many admirers of the NSAI Hall of Fame member was Jamey Johnson, who became a close friend to Cochran in the twilight of his life. Johnson tipped the musical hat to Hank on his The Guitar...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Heart

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. Speaking of Heart, the band is the focus of a special episode of Music Worth Buying this week, where TJR and yours truly celebrate not only the release of Fanatic, but the special retrospective collection Strange Euphoria released in June 2012. With this band having scored success on the Billboard charts in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2010, when are the Wilson sisters going to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
 
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Colt Ford – Declaration Of Independence

The latest album from Colt Ford has somewhat of a rougher edge than his most recent work. It sounded like Ford made an effort to make an album that could fit in the parameters of Country Radio with his last project, . And, I have to admit that I really liked some of the material, such as “She Likes To Ride In Trucks,” a collaboration with Craig Morgan, but radio...
 
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Corey Lueck & The Smoke Wagon Blues Band - It Ain't Easy

I've been getting some really good Blues albums crossing my desk lately, and one that musically stands out is It Ain't Easy by Canadian-based Corey Lueck and The Smoke Wagon Blues Band. With a voice reminiscent of Joe Cocker, and backed up by a band of phenomenal players, Corey Lueck takes us on a wild ride of "girl done me wrong" songs on his new 15-track CD. Vocally, Lueck delivers a powerhouse performance, taking the fairly weak lyrics and making them good enough to enjoy despite the ineffective writing. Lueck is co-writer on all ...
 
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The Twangtown Paramours – The Promise Of Friday Night

Classifications are something that are very important in music these days. Everything must fit in a neat, little 4+6 box, so we can call it whatever we think it is. The Twangtown Paramours shatter that line of thinking. They are, all at once, a little bit of blues, pop, country, and even (at times) bluegrass. But, on each of these cuts, they are nothing but excellent. Lead singer MaryBeth Zamer is a vocal force of nature – one of the most expressive vocalists I have heard in some time. There’s a soulful ...
 
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J.P. Reali - The Road To Mississippi

From the first note on the CD until the last, images of a lone man standing up in a pirogue, poling through a mist-covered swamp, filled my mind as I closed my eyes and listed to J.P. Reali's The Road To Mississippi. It's an album filled with dobros, waling harmonicas and rough-edged vocals that are masterfully combined to create a folky blues album that belongs on the shelf of every aficionado of the genre. The first time I listened to the album, I did so with a few sips of Kentucky 'shine in me which put me in the perfect mood to sway to the music. And sway I did.
 
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Chris Cagle – Back In The Saddle

Chris Cagle has endured his share of highs and lows over the years. Those have been well documented, both on and off the airwaves. But, the merit of a true champion is one who picks themselves back up and starts over again. The fan favorite has done just that with his first album on Bigger Picture. Cagle was at the top of his game, thanks to some fine production from Keith Stegall. Just as before, Cagle has a way with the uptempo rockers, and “I Got...
 
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Jetset Getset - Saturday Night

Twenty-three years ago, two sisters and their friend formed what would become a ground-breaking country trio. The Dixie Chicks made it to the top of the country charts with pop cross-over appeal, and made a name for themselves with their edgy songs and phenomenal harmonies. Jetset Getset, made up of Indiana teenagers Sadie Loveland (15), Avery Eliason (14), and Tori Little (15) have the potential to be the next Dixie Chicks if their debut album, Saturday Night, is any example of what they can do. I do want to clarify that comment up...
 
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