CD Reviews

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Dave Adkins and Republik Steele - That’s Just The Way I Roll

“There goes my heartstrings/Like a banjo rings/My whole world sings/All the church bells ring/When she’s next to me/My little sweet thing,” sings Dave Adkins and Republik Steele, describing what it feels like to be in love on “Heartstrings,” a song from their new release on Rural Rhythm Records. “That’s Just The Way I Roll” is a ten-track offering by the quintet, produced by Steve Gulley, that impressively debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Top 10 Bluegrass Albums chart. The origin of their name came...
 
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Lydia Brownfield - Wanting's for Sinners

On Lydia Brownfield's fine new album Waiting's For Sinners, any number of female pop/alternative vocalists of the past 30 years come to mind. Aimee Mann, Tori Amos, maybe even a more melodic Debbie Harry all show up in her vocal, not necessarily because Brownfield sounds a lot like them, but because there really aren't that many women singing what she sings today, songs that hearken back to the '80s and '90s and are more complemented by production than dependent upon it...
 
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Keith Urban - Fuse

One can surmise by looking at the credits of Keith Urban's new disc that there might be a few changes in store. There are not one, but several new producers listed for the talented artist, including Jay Joyce, Butch Walker, Mike Elizondo, and Stargate. That makes for some interesting new sounds on this disc, but relax - Urban is so solid at his craft that any new wrinkles are so subtle that you don't realize anything might...
 
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Mark Box - Fields Of Home

Mississippi native Mark Box counts among his influences Merle Haggard, George Strait, and Alan Jackson. You can hear those traditional influences all over his new EP, which should give Country Music fans an introduction to his vocal style. The only drawback to that fact is that after they are introduced to him, they are going to want a lot more than just six songs! Box is good. Make that really good. You can tell you're in...
 
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Amos Lee - Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song

For his new album, Amos Lee decided to go with a totally new approach. He recorded this disc in an old converted church building in Nashville along with superstar producer Jay Joyce at the helm. He also used his own band for the record - a career first, which lends itself to a comfort level that guided the making of this record. Style-wise, there's a little something for everyone here, as Lee has always been an artist that paints...
 
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying - Julian Lennon, James McCartney and Sean Lennon

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs.. This week we look at new releases from the son's of the Beatles with Julian Lennon's new album "Everything Changes" and James McCartney's new release "Me" - And we look back at the undeservedly overlooked "Into The Sun", from Sean Lennon.
 
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Western Avenue - Self Titled

Canada has given us some of the format's all-time greats such as Hank Snow, Shania Twain, and Anne Murray. There could be a new place at that table for a talented trio from Ontario named Western Avenue. Comprised of Nikki English, Keith Robertson, and Matt Williams, the group has carved out a pretty successful slot on Canadian radio, making a dent on the charts north of the border with "Highway Headin' Out Of...
 
VintageTroubleDVD

Highly-Anticipated DVDs Deliver Sonic Thrills Aplenty

Vintage Trouble, supergroup Portnoy Sheehan MacAlpine Sherinian and a multi-format title pairing guitar legends Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin are featured on exciting new DVDs that are required viewing for fans. Artist: Vintage Trouble. Title: 80 Shows 100 Days (Vintage Trouble Records). You might like if you enjoy: James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding. Tell me more: Anyone who saw Los Angeles-based rock 'n' soul quartet Vintage Trouble in concert knows the power of ...
 
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Kevin Presbrey - Dust Into Dust

Listening to the music of Kevin Presbrey is a sonic treat. He's got one of those voices that seems to fit whatever mood you're in like an old pair of shoes. There's a quality to his rough-hewn vocal approach that brings to mind acts such as John Fogerty or Levon Helm. That being said, Presbrey isn't trying to be anything other than himself as an artist. The comparison to the afore-mentioned American icons comes...
 
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Kacey Smith - Country Girl

When Tennessee native Kacey Smith starts to sing about the joys and pleasures of being a "Country Girl," as she does on the opening track on this album, you tend to believe her. She grew up in a rural setting in the Volunteer State, and I can believe that she has spent a little bit of time behind the wheel of a pickup. There's a ton of personality and sass in her vocal on the cut, which is made even more enjoyable...
 
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J.J. Lawhorn - Original Good Ol' Boy

Recording artist J.T. Lawhorn has listened to more than a little bit of Southern Rock in his life. That’s one thing that is obvious from listening to his debut Average Joe’s release. Where a lot of artists today – including several of his labelmates – have scored success by mixing Country with Southern Rock and Hip-Hop, Lawhorn’s strength is more focused on the first two of those sounds. There’s several references to pick-ups, dirt...
 
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Highly-Anticipated Releases Deliver

Jars of Clay, Franz Ferdinand and British icons Status Quo are featured on new collections. InlandCoverJarsOfClayArtist: Jars of Clay. Title: Inland (Gray Matters). You might like if you enjoy: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Carbon Leaf, Adrian Belew. Tell me more: Strong songwriting shines across Jars of Clay's welcome return to action on the winning "Inland." An album that boasts shining melodies, probing real-life lyrics and inventive arrangements across its 12-track run, Jars of Clay has long been one ...
 
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Craig Morgan - The Journey: Livin' Hits

Since he first broke onto the scene back in 2000 with the top-40 "Something To Write Home About," Craig Morgan has carved out quite a career singing about real life - and the ups and downs that happen in lives like yours and mine. In doing so, he's provided the Country format with some of the best moments of the past thirteen years. His latest disc - his second for Black River - reflects back on many of those hits that...
 
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Kasey Lansdale – Restless

The title of Kasey Lansdale’s new release says it all. This stunning product of the great state of Texas has a musical spirit that seems to be all over the place, and she seems to excel at anywhere she goes stylistically. With industry veterans such as Michael Clute and John Carter Cash steering the wheel as producers, she is given free rein to create, and soars like a butterfly into the stratosphere in the process. As a vocalist, she walks...
 
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Sheryl Crow - Feels Like Home

I've got to admit, I've been looking forward to writing this review for a long time. Beginning back in 200- with her success on the Country charts with "Picture" and "The First Cut Is The Deepest," many people have been waiting for an all-Country project from Sheryl Crow. It kind of makes sense. She's from Kennett, MO after all, and grew up influenced by a lot of the Country sounds of the area. Even going back to...
 
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