CD Reviews


Zane Williams - Overnight Success

I have to admit when I heard the opening lines of the title cut of the newest CD from Texan Zane Williams that he was a little different. There's a wry sense of humor that comes across in his songs that is a little bit different. In other words, it's not all about his truck, a red dirt highway, and Betty Lou or Bobbie Jean. Williams is traditional - and proud of it! He goes for a more dramatic approach on "Sure Feels Like Goodbye," which shows...

Omar Dykes - Runnin' With the Wolf

Omar Dykes is another of those guys who got close to the brass ring but was never quite able to put it on his finger. As the namesake of Mississippi's Omar and the Howlers, Dykes established himself decades ago as an artist to watch after moving to Austin, with a bluesy vocal and stinging guitar that should have made him far more successful than he became. The Howlers sold hundreds of thousands of copies of their late '80s album on Columbia, and have labored in near...

Groundbreaking Artists Excel On First-Rate Releases

The far-off corners of the musical universe are offering up plenty of sonic stardust thanks to the return of Big Country, Julian Lennon and Irish rock heroes The Fenians, as well as the latest collection from Americana hero Michael Ubaldini. Artist: Big Country. Title: The Journey (Mri Associated). You might like if you enjoy: Big Country's 1983 debut "The Crossing," U2's early '80s albums. Tell me more: Thirty years after the release of their epic debut "The Crossing," Scotland's Big Country has returned ...

Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis - Dos Divas

Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis have been two of Country Music's most trend-setting females since they burst upon the scenes in the late 1980s. Additionally, they also share the distinction of being second-generation Country Music stars, so it only made sense for them to team up for their successful "Grits N Glamour" tour. The two enjoyed working with other so much that they decided to team up for a record, and the resulting factor is...

The Brothers Roberson - Self-Titled

In days long past, Springfield, Missouri was a hotbed of country music activity because of radio. Performers like Chet Atkins and the Carter Family would appear on radio station KWTO-AM in the days when radio was the main source of musical entertainment, and Springfield was as popular as Nashville for a minute. For a relatively small town, Springfield has exported quite a bit of talent, like hard rockers King's X and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Now we can add the Brothers...

Anthrax – Anthems

“We stayed true to the original concept with a little bit of ourselves mixed in,” says drummer Charlie Benante about creating the latest Anthrax release on Megaforce Records. “Anthems” is a collection of covers by the heavy metal band, where they’ve come together as fans inspired by the songs they grew up on, and pay homage to those classic hard rockers of the 70s. Produced by the band, Jay Ruston and Rob Caggiano, the EP consists of six covers and two versions of Anthrax’s...

The Roys - Gypsy Runaway Train

Ever since the release of their last disc, New Day Dawning, brother and sister duo The Roys have carved out quite a successful reputation as one of the rising acts in Bluegrass music. While that was a mini-disc - only containing seven tracks, this is a full blown look at what Lee and Elaine can do - and they do it very well. This disc is a mixture of classics and some songs that qualify as "soon-to-be" classics. Of the...

Dave Davies - I Will Be Me

Ray Davies was the Kinks to most people. Songs like "Sunny Afternoon," "You Really Got Me" and the ahead-of-its-time transvestite or transgender anthem "Lola," were a staple of 1960s pop radio, and writer/vocalist Ray got most of the credit. But those in the know thought that the band's sound had just as much to do with his little brother, Dave. If any doubts about Dave's abilities and contribution to the Kinks haven't already been put to rest, they can be now. On I Will Be Me, Dave Davies plays

Lizanne Knott – Standing in the English Rain

“I’m gonna tear down your walls/Brick by little brick/’Cause if I lead you here today/You’d be in the thick of it/I’m gonna break away the glass/Steal my way in/Gonna pick the pieces up/And make you whole again,” swears Philadelphia-area singer/songwriter Lizanne Knott on “Miss You,” one of thirteen tracks from her fifth album, “Standing in the English Rain.” Previously released by UK label Proper, it was produced by Glenn Barratt and recorded stateside in East Norriton, Pennsylvania,...

Julie Jean White - Self Titled

There's just something about Minnesota native Julie Jean White. First of all, fans of the male gender might be attracted at first to the artwork, as White is simply a stunning woman. That being said, she's a lot more than just good looks. This is one of the top independent singer-songwriter discs I have heard in quite some time, and it is made so by the very effective way White segues from one emotional spectrum to the next. She handles a wide array of sounds, and does it very well. Kicking off with the pain-drenched

Nakia – Drown in the Crimson Tide

“The human heart has no limit to its size,” so sings R&B/soul singer Nakia, perhaps convincing himself that going from Apple store guy to guest artist on CeeLo Green’s Muppets Christmas special is a huge and remarkable achievement. Somewhere in between those two polar opposite jobs, he performed with his Texas band the Blues Grifters, and sang background vocals on Alejandro Escovedo’s “Street Songs of Love” album, and was then discovered by a national audience on the...

Samantha Crain – Kid Face

“I started playing music in order to travel. Living in a small town in Oklahoma, there wasn’t much going on, and I got itchy, so I started going out on the road and playing everywhere that would have me,” says singer/songwriter Samantha Crain. This young Shawnee native of Choctaw heritage is still on the road, but her restlessness always takes her full-circle to her roots. “Coming back home brings me perspective and focus,” and the wherewithal to release her third full-length album, the autobiographical...

Monster Truck - Furiosity

Take Black Sabbath and add some harmony vocals. Add a little Molly Hatchet without the South. Then some Black Country Communion without the big virtuoso names. Put it all in a blender and you've got the Monster Truck sound. On Furiosity, the high-charting new album from Ontario, Canada's Monster Truck, this four-piece band combines classic rock guitar playing and nicely understated keys with the singing of bass player Jon Harvey, who has a limited range and uses it perfectly, knowing...

Robert "Top" Thomas - The Town Crier

“He had a deep, fierce passion for playin’ the blues/Gen-u-ine real, sho’ nough paid his dues,” growls Robert “Top” Thomas on his debut album with WildRoots Records, “The Town Crier.” The Florida bluesman is singing about the Midnight Creeper here, but he might as well be singing about himself. This founding member of Smokehouse has definitely put in the mileage to prove his mettle, and is pure, unpretentious, unadulterated blues as it gets. Thomas is a storyteller first, who takes ...

Elizabeth Lyons - Self Titled

Hailing from just outside of Chicago, Elizabeth Lyons can't lay claim to being a small-town southern girl. That being said, Country Music was never too far. As a youngster, she would spend summers at her grandparents' house in rural Iowa, where the musical menu included such legends as Hank Williams, so the music definitely made an impact on her. You can tell it on her EP. Decidedly in the modern-country vein, Lyons knows...