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Quality country/bluegrass rule

Country Standard Time Editorial, March 2008

Let's put aside the news of less than stellar CD sales continuing into 2008.

Folks, there is a lot of good music released already in the first two months of the year and a lot more quality albums upcoming real soon. We are very keen obviously on Carlene Carter's new CD. It is quite refreshing to hear high quality, heartfelt and energetic music from Carter, who certainly has had major troubles over the years. To say that the singing and song craft would be such high quality was not unexpected.

Then, there is Alan Jackson. "Good Time" is meat and potatoes AJ. He's not going anything exotic as he did with "Precious Memories" and "Like Red on a Rose" from 2006. That's okay though because the new CD is killer traditional country.

If George Strait's "Troubadour," out April 1, is anything like his last one, then he will once again be at the top of his game.

And what this all shows is that these veterans did not rest on their laurels, but still have the fire in their belly. Who knows? Maybe they are signaling a return to traditional sounds among the more commercially oriented labels.

The disc of big-voiced newcomer Ashton Shepherd could indicate that as well.

Bluegrass also has a slew of good albums out and upcoming - new acts The SteelDrivers and Dailey & Vincent already released music, and The SteelDrivers are real strong live. Upcoming is Chatham County Line, new duo Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein and Longview.

Keep the faith folks - quality music is out there.