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McKenna, Bryan, Steep Canyon Rangers release lead new releases

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 – The summer doldrums did not apply to releasing new CDs this week since six are out, including the woman who wrote songs for Faith Hill to Tim McGraw's first release on his new label to several bluegrass discs.

Boston-area singer Lori McKenna, best known as a songwriter of three songs on Faith Hill's "Fireflies," releases her second disc, "Unglamorous," for Warner. The album is being co-released by Tim McGraw's StyleSonic Records. Byron Gallimore and McGraw produced the album. Hill and McGraw both sing backing vocals. McKenna had been on Signature Sounds with her last disc also picked up by Warner for re-release.

Halfway to Hazard, a duo comprised of David Tolliver and Chad Warrix, release their self-titled debut. Both are from the coal-country of eastern Kentucky, Hindman and Jackson, respectively, just outside of Hazard. They've been friends since grade school and hooked up three years ago after pursuing solo projects, writing songs together and performing live. The disc is being released as a joint venture by Tim McGraw's new label StyleSonic and Mercury Records. The duo opened many shows during McGraw's recent tour with Hill.

Luke Bryan debuts with "I'll Stay Me" (Capitol Nashville). Bryan is a Georgia native who had a hand in writing the 11 songs on the Jeff Stevens-produced disc. Bryan has enjoyed success with the lead-off song "All My Friends Say."

On the bluegrass front, Charlie Sizemore's first new studio release in five years, "Good News" (Rounder), also marks his label debut after an extended hiatus from the bluegrass world. Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, George Jones, Reba McEntire) produced the disc. Sizemore contributed four new songs to the CD along with covering songs of Dixie and Tom T. Hall, Harley Allen and Hank Cochran. Sizemore once replaced Keith Whitley in Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys for almost a decade starting in the late 1970's.

The Steep Canyon Rangers release their third disc for Rebel and fifth overall with "Lovin' Pretty Women." Ronnie Bowman produced the 12-song disc, 8 written by the band. The Rangers also cover Shawn Camp's "Ain't No Way of Knowin'." Randy Kohrs plays Dobro on several tracks, while Wyatt Rice engineered the disc.

Chicago-based band Dollar Store led by Dean Schlabowske, who plays with Jon Langford, release "Money Music," their second for Bloodshot. This band consists of Schlabowske's guitar and lead vocals, Alan Doughty (Jesus Jones, Waco Brothers) on bass, Joe Camarillo (Waco Brothers) on drums, and Tex Schmidt (German rockabilly band The Roughnecks) on guitar. The group released a self-titled review in 2004.

More news for Lori McKenna

CD reviews for Lori McKenna

The Tree CD review - The Tree
It's difficult to know where to start when praising Lori McKenna's "The Tree." It's so good in so many ways. Artists like Little Big Town and Tim McGraw have benefited greatly from recording McKenna songs, yet it's unlikely many mainstream country music fans recognize her name. Fans of Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, two women that consistently and effectively write straight from the heart, would love McKenna's songs -- if only given the chance. »»»
The Bird & The Rifle CD review - The Bird & The Rifle
Lori McKenna's back story is a country song brought to vivid yet unaffected life. Married with five children, the Massachusetts native began exploring her longstanding musical gifts - she wrote her first song at 13 - by playing for family and friends, who then forced her to attend a regional coffee house open mic. After two years of regular gigging with her poignant songs of everyday life and becoming a favorite among Boston folk fans, McKenna self-released her debut, "Paper Wings and »»»
Numbered Doors CD review - Numbered Doors
Singer-songwriter Lori McKenna has forged a career built on consistently strong if sadly under-appreciated albums. However while sales have not reach platinum status, some of the bigger names in music - Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Little Big Town - have not let her talent go unnoticed. Now, McKenna's latest is an interesting concept with most of the material inspired by and written in motel rooms while on tour. McKenna says the lyrics aren't necessarily autobiographical, but stem from »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Sweeney maintains her musical integrity – Sunny Sweeney has gone the big label route and even earned a hit with "From a Table Away," but truth be told, she's better off without the baggage of the bigs, especially given the consistent quality and musical vision that was so clearly and admirably on display on this evening. When the East Texas native started her career, she was... »»»
Concert Review: Live, Shelley proves she's the real deal – After the concert, Joan Shelley was greeted by a fan at the near sold-out club who had never seen her before. The first timer told the Louisville, Ky.-based folk-oriented singer that she wanted to see for herself if Shelley's vocals were the real deal live. The fan walked away mighty impressed -based on her comments - and it was easy to see why.... »»»
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