CD Reviews


Mark Newton & Steve Thomas – Reborn

Collectively, the duet of Mark Newton and Steve Thomas have played behind some of the top performers in music – such as Lee Ann Womack, Tony Rice, the Osborne Brothers, and Kenny Chesney. With a musical career like that, it’s no wonder that the two have put together quite a musical collection – one that takes from Traditional Country as well as Classic Bluegrass, but also represents their own sound. The two start off...

Jesus, Firm Foundation: Hymns of Faith - Various Artists

Today's Christian music is a far cry from what many Christians, especially ones that belong to a particular denomination, came up singing. "Rock of Ages" and "Bringing in the Sheaves" probably won't be heard anytime soon on whatever "Fish" station is in your neighborhood. But it's nice to know that many of today's artists haven't forgotten where the concept of praise and worship music came from in the first place, even if they don't record a lot of it. On Jesus, Firm Foundation, some of today's hottest contemporary...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: Favorite Music Movies With The Beatles & Motown

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week on Music Worth Buying it's favorite Music Movie Documentaries as we look at Beatles Stories (a film wherein the famous recount their encounters with the fab four) and Standing in the Shadow of Motown (A film about the unsung Motown records house band (The Funk Brothers) and how they played on every Motown classic.

Jason Boland & The Stragglers - Dark & Dirty Mile

Trying to define the term "Red Dirt Music" can be as confusing and puzzling as trying to write the definition of Americana Music. One man's progressive sounds might very well be someone else's traditional slant. The same could be said for Jason Boland & The Stragglers. Listening to their music, I personally am taken back in time to the great Country sounds coming off of stations like WSM-AM in the early 1980s. The first two cuts - the title and...

Joey Sontz – “Chasing The Dream”

Joey Sontz’s resume is rife with acting parts as extras in major motion pictures, such as “Julie & Julia” and “As Good As It Gets,” and beloved New York-based TV series like “Sex and the City” and Law & Order.” Chances are if you’ve watched the big or small screen in the last 15 years, you’ve seen his face. Now for the first time, his singing voice is being heard, on his debut album “Chasing the Dream.” This native Albany, New Yorker has recorded ten covers...

The Rankin Twins - Moonshine & Maybes

To say that twin sisters Amy & April Rankin have the vocal synergy together would be putting it mildly. At times, it seems they complement each other so well that it would be tough to tell where one ends and the other begins. But, that's a very good thing, as this set qualifies as one of the top independent albums I have heard all year so far. On cuts like "Jezebel" and "Wake Up," the sisters exude personality and charisma...

Lonestar - Life As We Know It

For well over a decade, Lonestar was one of the hottest bands in Country Music. Then, in 2008, longtime lead singer Richie McDonald felt the itch to go solo. While he released a fine solo effort, and the band continued to record with new lead singer Cody Collins, there was no mistake that there was magic between the two entities. So, five years later, the band is "Together Again," and sounding possibly better than ever. More than...

Clinton Gregory - The Roots of My Raising

Bluegrass Music defines a genre of music as truthful as the words in RED in the Good Book. This is why country artist Clinton Gregory and his first “release” as a Bluegrass artist fits this music like and a hand and a glove. Clinton, has lived life full circle; from records and albums on the chart with success in the early ’90s, (including one of my favorite songs “If It Weren’t For Country Music I’d Go Crazy”) to tours and sold out shows. Then his life went 180 degrees into a painful divorce, addiction and loss...

New Releases Profile Welcome Returns From Favorite Veterans

After surviving two weekends of Coachella and another weekend at Stagecoach, now might be the perfect time to relax and take in some great musical performances at home. Artist: Alanis Morissette. Title: Alanis Morissette – Live at Montreux (Eagle Rock Entertainment). You might like if you enjoy: Paula Cole, Garbage. Tell me more: Last week marked the release of singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette’s first live release in a decade. “Alanis Morissette – Live at Montreux” (available on DVD, Blu-ray and...

Don Rigsby - Doctor's Orders: A Tribute To Ralph Stanley

Among Bluegrass musicians of the past twenty years, there may not be a musician any more influential than Ralph Stanley. With all due respect to Bill Monroe, Stanley has continued to create new music that has touched across today's generation - and his old music, showcased in O'Brother has received a lot of attention as well. So, it's no surprise that the great Don Rigsby has chosen to salute the singer with an album that...

Kenny Chesney - Life On A Rock

Over the years, Kenny Chesney has made no secret of his love for the islands. Though it has filled several of his albums, and inspired his 2005 disc Be As You Are (Songs From An Old Blue Chair), I've got to admit that on this disc, I get it. It's not just the fact that Chesney might or might not be a fan of Jimmy Buffett. He actually does take this music seriously. This album - along with the still stunning Hemingway's Whiskey might be the...
mike aiken_captains and cowboys

Mike Aiken - Captains and Cowboys

On Captains and Cowboys, singer / songwriter / sailboat captain Mike Aiken returns with an album produced by former Georgia Satellite Dan Baird that features some of Nashville's top players, including steel player Dan Dugmore, who made his name with Linda Ronstadt, and Steeldrivers fiddle player Tammy Rogers, among others. This album isn't hardcore country though, as such instruments might suggest, as Aiken blends folk, country, roots and rock throughout , as his website accurately states...

Fat Opie – Victoryville

“I remember the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show/Own all their records but I don’t own a stereo/I nailed them to the wall and I read the LP cover,” so writes Scott Mickelson of Fat Opie in the lyrics to his “Concrete Kid” on their latest release, “Victoryville.” The San Francisco band’s frontman has penned all nine songs on this, their fifth album, making social commentary by ambitiously taking a different persona’s point of view in each song. The once-90s grunge band has morphed down into its present...

William Clark Green - Rose Queen

William Clark Green is another in the long line of Texas artists who fall under the "Red Dirt" umbrella the same way that so many acts are called "Americana," which basically means they fit no specific genre while being influenced by several different genres at the same time. Green's Nashville-recorded Rose Queen doesn't sound like a lot of Red Dirt recordings, but it's certainly not as sterile as some Nashville records either. One can hear influences of Texans like Steve Earle and Willis Alan Ramsey...

Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally - House & Garden

Music is something that causes a natural reaction - just like the same emotion and feeling that people have for nature. On this album, veteran performers Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally demonstrate their love of both, tying their feelings into such warm and inviting tracks as "Life In The Garden" and "The Gardener." There's an earthiness to these cuts that will almost make you think you are listening to some alternate cuts from a Carter...
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