Tag Archives: records

Ricky Skaggs & Family – A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume Two

One of the more delightful Holiday albums of the past few years was 2005’s A Skaggs Family Christmas. Of course, with a title like that, one would assume that Ricky Skaggs was a huge part of the project, and they would be right. However, he was quick to share the spotlight with many of the talented people in his family – as well as his extended one, his in-laws, The Whites. This second volume of Yuletide cheer picks right back up where the first one left off. Skaggs…
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Richie Owens & The Farm Bureau – In Farm We Trust

Richie Owens has been around Nashville for quite some time now. Back in 1998, he helped to produce an album on one of his talented family members who also owns a theme park in East Tennessee (Think about that one for a second.) For the past few years, Owens has been making some very unique music with the Farm Bureau, and they have developed quite a following. This disc is sure to keep…
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Lady Antebellum – Own The Night

I may have been the only one who was a little let down with the previous album from Lady Antebellum, Need You Now. Once you got past the soaring title cut and the gorgeous “American Honey,” I thought the disc tended to bog down with ballads and never really found itself. With several million sold, I realize I was likely the only one with that opinion, but I do have to say that I realty like what the trio has done with their third album release. The album’s first single with the dreamy…
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LA Guns – Acoustic Gypsy Live

One of the 1980s’ most popular Rock bands, the L.A. Guns are back with their first release in five years. As good as any act is in the studio, the best testament to what a band can actually do is their ability to turn it on in concert. Needless to say, they still have it – and then some. The album starts a little slow, albeit not in a bad way. It’s kind of like a dish on the oven – sometimes it’s a good thing to start with a little fire, and then let things simmer. “Crystal Eyes” and “One Way Ticket” both have this…
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Janice Priest – What Love

One of Janice Priest’s jobs is as a clown. But, you would not be able to tell it by the release of this album. It is as stirring and as old-school a Country Gospel project as you can get. She is a very blessed singer, and on this disc, she shares that passion with others. What Love is a mix of classics with a few new songs included for good measure. Of the classics, she hits a home run with each of them. Her take on “Old Rugged Cross” will pierce right through your heart, and she gives…
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The Oak Ridge Boys – It’s Only Natural

Joining forces with restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, the Oak Ridge Boys mix the old with the new on this special collection. Seven of these twelve cuts have been released in one form or the other by the Oaks previously. The majority of the re-cuts were hits for the Oaks during the time period that Steve Sanders was in the group. Over the years, I have felt that some of these songs have been forgotten somewhat, and it’s good to hear them again…
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Ken Mellons – Rural Route

One of the most pure and traditional Country voices out there belongs to Tennessee born and bred Ken Mellons. A student of the genre, Mellons also has another side – a Bluegrass one. You can hear the influence of people like Jimmy Martin on him, and for his acoustic debut, he does not let down one bit. Vocally, Mellons’ voice – strong back during the ‘Jukebox Junkie’ era – has only gotten stronger with time. Tracks like “Blue Wind,” “A Cold One Can’t Cure,” and rip-roaring…
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Rockpile – Live At Montreux, 1980

Believe it or not, there was only one “official” Rockpile album – Seconds Of Pleasure – released in 1980, but with a line up that consisted of Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Terry Williams, and Billy Bremner – there was plenty of material to go around with this Rock / New Wave supergroup. This collection, taken from the band’s performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1980 has the excitement level that one might imagine when you get those above performers together. The album bristles…
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Johnny Hiland – All Fired Up

There is nothing glamorous about the upbringing of Johnny Hiland. Diagnosed with nystagmus, a medical condition causing involuntary eye movement and rendering him legally blind, Hiland nevertheless fell oin love with music, taking up the guitar at age eight. In the years since, that love of music has taken him to Music City from his native state of Maine, where he has recorded with artists ranging from Ricky Skaggs…
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Songwriting: The Mechanics

When I was in high school back in Michigan they started students on what they considered practical courses that would teach them skills that would translate directly to getting a job in the real world. It is the idea behind trade schools – teach me something more practical than theoretical. I see that attitude more frequently in the questions I have been getting from people I teach or advise through…
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Is It Worth the Investment?

Today’s the day of the month that I usually do my monthly paperwork where I record all my income and expenses from the previous month. My business expenses are very different from the business expenses of my clients’. Below is just a snapshot of what a recording artist’s expenses include for just one album project. But there is one item on this list that, once the money is invested into it, it typically carries over into all future projects and other areas
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Arty Hill – Another Lost Highway

Many people feel that the Country Music that one hears on the radio is a little different from how it used to be. I guess you could call that an understatement. If you like your music the way that it was back in, this Baltimore native might be well worth your time. You will hear an album that is laced with some old-school traditional lyrics, themes, and instrumentation. “Mae Dawn” is such a song. It glistens with…
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Average White Band – Live At Montreux 1977

Assembled in 1973 from several different groups, the Average White Band became one of the top Funk acts of the 1970s. On this, their legendary 1977 concert from the Montreux festival, it was their moment, and to say they went for and grabbed the brass ring would be nothing short of an understatement. Each and every member of the group were in their element, and it all comes together rather early, as their opener, the 1975 breakthrough “Pick Up The Pieces” shines as brightly as the studio version… considerably
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Laura Cantrell – Kitty Wells Dresses

For some reason, the legend of Kitty Wells has not been quite as promoted as some of the other legendary female vocalists of her time. Maybe it was the fact that Wells’ days as a hitmaker on the charts ended in the mid 1960s that has something to do with it, but aside from an occasional cover, she’s known as “The Queen,” but can you name any other of her tunes than “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels?” Laura Cantrell does, and she offers up one of the more reverent tributes to an act that I have…
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Annie Kennedy – Highway Songs

Illinois native Annie Kennedy has been dreaming of stardom since she was ten years old. She took out a phone book, and started calling around for a manager. Well, it’s a few years later, and Kennedy is at the point in her life and career where she sounds as if that manager might just come in handy. For her debut disc, the singer has picked out a collection of songs that showcase what her voice has to…
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Red Meat Does Clash With Red Carpet, Just So You Know

“You can’t wait until that morning [of the awards show] to decide what you’re going to wear. You should put it on. Get in front of a camera. Tape it. Look at it back. See what it looks like on camera. Have some photographs taken. In other words, don’t just put it on because those images will be there forever!” Robert Deaton, co-owner, Deaton Flanigen Productions – CMA Industry InSite, June 2010…
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Songwriting: Tips from Michael Lloyd

As I have mentioned previously in this column, one of the great things about being a teacher is how much you learn. This past week I had the opportunity to interview producer/writer/music supervisor Michael Lloyd for a songwriting class. Keeping up with his cumulative credits has become sort of a running joke with us when I introduce him. The internet data bases where I get bio information are…
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Tom Hambridge – Boom!

There’s one thing for sure. After you listen to this album, I double dawg dare you not to smile. It can’t be done. Nashville tunesmith Tom Hambridge enjoys what he does, and it shows very well on this collection. In some cases, Hambridge is an out-and-out Southern Rocker, as shown on potent cuts like “Two Thumbs Up,” “The Pistol,” and “Things I Miss The Most,” which have that bad-boy attitude down pat – even though the latter is a straight ahead tear jerker about what one misses on the…
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Songwriting: Just The Facts, Ma’am

One of the points about writing lyrics I have made in these articles and in my book is to give the listener enough detail to get the idea of what you are trying to say. Many times songs feel overly generalized in an attempt to be too universal. They leave the listener wondering what is going on or worse, not caring about what is going on. But the other side of the coin is being too detailed in…
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Michael Z. Cummings – Storyteller

Listening to this album is like a conversation with an old friend. You might not agree with every point of view expressed, but you respect it. And, just maybe – to quote Bill Cosby from the intro to the 70s cartoon Fat Albert, “If you’re not careful, you might just learn something before you’re done.” Cummings grew up in Boston, enthralled with the Blues that his brother was listening to. Over the years, he would add acts such as Bob Dylan and Earl Scruggs to his influence…
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