CD Reviews


Randall Bramblett – The Bright Spots

“It’s pain and joy simultaneously,” says roots singer/songwriter Randall Bramblett when asked about his latest release, “The Bright Spots,” on New West Records. The long-time sideman to legends such as Traffic, Gregg Allman and Levon Helm has had compositions recorded by others, notably Bonnie Raitt, who opened her Grammy-winning “Slipstream” with his “Used To Rule The World.” Recorded in Nashville and Athens in his home state of Georgia, these twelve new tracks make up his ...

Billy Currington - We Are Tonight

One listen to the latest album from hitmaker Billy Currington, and you know that the motto that he and the producers must have went by sounded something like "Don't worry.Have fun." The singer seems to be in an overall positive place these days, as evidenced by the overall tone of this album. There's nothing real heavy or negative here, just some music that features some nice grooves, and subject matter that keeps...

Neal McCoy: Pride - A Tribute To Charley Pride

Neal McCoy got his start in the music business thanks to Charley Pride. The popular entertainer opened for the Hall of Famer for several years before striking out on his own with hits such as "Wink," "No Doubt About It," and "They're Playing Our Song." For his latest musical effort, McCoy decided to pay tribute to the man who has always been there in his career - both to encourage when things were going slow, and to...

Kirsten Thien - Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club

A few years back, I reviewed an album titled Delicious from Kirsten Thien. It was one of the better discs I reviewed for MNN back in 2010. With songs that ran the gamut from sensual and sexy to Soul and Roots-oriented sounds, she definitely made an impact. Well, a few years later, the German native has put together a live album that really seems to be right up her alley for what she wants to do musically. This collection...

Love & The Outcome - Self Titled

The life and career of Canada natives Love & The Outcome definitely qualifies as a faith-based story. How else do you explain leaving your native country to move to the United States to try your hand at the crazy world of the music business. Vocalist Jodi King and her husband, bass player Chris Rademaker had to have faith in their musical abilities, but to make such a move proves what faith you have in a higher...

John Enghauser - Reality

Listening to the music of San Francisco native John Enghauser is always a delight. He’s so varied as an artist, and pulls his music from so many different styles that you never quite know what’s coming next. That’s what called keeping you on the edge of your seats. He does that once again with this fine collection. As a writer, he can captivate you with his composing as much as his vocalizing. “Black Dress” the opener, will...

The Deadly Gentlemen - Roll Me, Tumble Me

Upon first listen, you might think that the Deadly Gentlemen might be your standard Bluegrass band. After all, they are signed to Rounder Records, which has some of the genre's top acts on their roster, including Dailey & Vincent. And, you will hear the instrumentation that you come to expect from a Bluegrass record - fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and even double bass. But, when you hear these guys sing, it might take...

Lenny White – Lenny White Live: Live From 97

“It was the first time I had been asked to bring a band of my own to Japan. I chose friends that I had lasting relationships with over the years,” writes spirited jazz drummer Lenny White, reflecting on piecing together a touring ensemble for a visit to Asia sixteen years ago. The composer, producer and member of the Grammy-winning group Return To Forever has finally given in to requests to release recordings from that tour with his latest, “Lenny White Live: Live From 97,” on the BFM Jazz label.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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...
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