CD Reviews


Trace Adkins - Love Will

Trace Adkins has always had a knack for a romantic ballad. His 2010 hit "This Ain't No Love Song" has always been one of my favorites. But, as great as he handles songs like that one, he is also known for a series of novelty records like "Swing" or "Brown Chicken Brown Cow." Nothing against those records, as they do show his humorous side, but I've always thought if he could string three or four of those ballads in a row, he could make...

Poco – All Fired Up

Since the late 60s, country rock band Poco has been on the road performing their California ear-candy harmonies, but it’s been eleven years since their last studio album. The new twelve-track release by the group is “All Fired Up,” and Poconuts are sure to be just that over this record. Back in April, original member and frontman Rusty Young blogged on their website journal: “…the REALLY great news is that the CD has gone platinum…at ‘Pucky Huddle.’ If you sell 50 CDs down there, they certify it platinum...

Matt Maher - And All the People Said Amen

From its rousing, reggae-inflected opening title track, contemporary Christian artist Matt Maher's new album is a welcome arrival on the scene. A combination of live and studio tracks, And All the People Said Amen is less bland and formulaic than a lot of what pervades the CCM market these days, and Maher doesn't sound like he really cares; he's just doing what he's doing, worshiping the Lord his way. Maher is an accomplished musician whose vocal delivery is more soulful than many...

Restless Heart: Playlist – The Very Best of Restless Heart

2013 marks three decades since the group Restless Heart formed. Their success in the industry speaks for themselves, with close to twenty top ten hits and an Academy of Country Music trophy for Top Vocal Group. One of the elements of their sound that really set them apart was that spellbinding harmony. As the group celebrates their milestone together, Sony Music Nashville dusts off twelve of their biggest hits – along with two never...

Various Artists – God Didn’t Choose Sides

The sesquecentennial observance of the War Between the States has sparked renewed interest in the battles fought by brother against brother on American soil from 1861-1865. Among the events and tributes is a special album project released on Lincoln’s birthday this year by Rural Rhythm Records, “God Didn’t Choose Sides: Civil War True Stories About Real People, Volume I.”

LeAnn Rimes - Spitfire

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been seventeen years since LeAnn Rimes first dazzled us with her magnificent vocal range on the Bill Mack-written “Blue.” Since then, Rimes has undergone many personal and career changes over the years. And, to be truthful, why wouldn’t she? After all, she was just thirteen when she made her debut in front of the public eye, and has lived her life in front of the tabloids ever since. How would you have held up if...

New Releases Profile Welcome Returns From Favorite Veterans by Robert Kinsler

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. AlanisMorisette2Artist: 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 audio CD) was filmed in high definition in summer 2012 and features ...

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell – Love Has Come From You

Thanks to his award-winning collaborations with The Steep Canyon Rangers, Steve Martin’s skills as a musician have been in the limelight as much as his acting over the past few years. While his banjo prowess on such songs as “King Tut” have been a part of his act for years, make no mistake – he’s not acting on these records. Musically, he is the real deal. If he wasn’t, these cuts would not have received the attention they have gotten. He’s back...

Growing Americana Music Movement Celebrated

Dawes and Phosphorescent have returned with exceptional follow-ups to their last efforts (2011's "Nothing Is Wrong" and 2010's "Here's to Taking It Easy" respectively) while the legacy of blues harmonica pioneer Little Walter is celebrated by a fistful of today's best-known blues masters on a fine new collection. Artist: Dawes. Title: Stories Don't End (HUB Records). You might be interested if you like: Jackson Browne, Neil Young, The Eagles. Tell me more: Dawes' "Stories Don't End" is only the...

Sights and Sounds: R.E.M., Barenaked Ladies

R.E.M.'s 'Green' to be issued as deluxe 25th anniversary edition on May 14. When R.E.M. went to Memphis, Tennessee's famed Ardent Studios in 1988 to record their major label debut for Warner Bros Records, singer Michael Stipe, legend has it, tasked his band mates, Bill Berry, Peter Buck, and Mike Mills, with a singular mission: to "not write any more R.E.M.-type songs." Emboldened by this charge, the band ventured into the previously unexplored realm of bubblegum pop ("Pop Song '89," "Stand"), freely swapped instruments amongst themselves, and even went so far...

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...