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Various Artists
Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver

This 12-song tribute to songwriter Billy Joe Shaver features country music outlaws, both old (Willie Nelson) and new (Ryan Bingham, Nikki Lane, Margo Price) with a few wildcards (Edie Brickell, Nathaniel Rateliff) also thrown into the mix. Shaver is best known among country folk, but is loved by any ...

Chosen Road
Appalachian Christmas

Chosen Road, a four-piece bluegrass act, combines Appalachian instrumentation with an evangelical fervor. However, with "Appalachian Christmas," these musicians have created a holiday album packed with bluegrass versions of traditional and relatively new holiday songs. ...

Tyler Childers
Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?

At nearly two hours long, just listening all the way through Tyler Childers' gospel release is a challenging project in and of itself. It's an eight-song album, but each of these eight songs is played three different ways. Recorded with his band The Food Stamps, these three ...

Little Big Town
Mr. Sun

Little Big Town has always been one of the more consistently good modern country groups. This latest album, not surprisingly, is also good. However, it's not exceptional. Sure, the quartet explores the happy and sad sides of love and romance, as per usual, but few tracks rise far above the merely good level. ...

Mitchell Tenpenny
This is the Heavy

Mitchell Tenpenny calls his album "This is The Heavy" because "it's big. It's loud. It's in your face and drum heavy," he said. In contrast that is not at all how one would describe most country music. Thus, Tenpenny's lengthy album (a whole 20 tracks!) is ...

Laura Benitez and the Heartache
California Centuries

Laura Benitez, the frontwoman for her band The Heartache is getting braver with each release, this her third album with the band and fourth as an artist. While past albums were mostly third person stories about fictional characters, Benitez wanted to get more personal and delve into some issues that ...

Kane Brown
Different Man

It's easy to be skeptical about Kane Brown's country music credibility, as he often times releases music that has more in common with R&B than anything honky tonk-ready. Those who watched Brown perform "Grand" on the MTV VMAs this year, might not even know there's a country ...

Jon Pardi
Mr. Saturday Night

Jon Pardi's "Mr. Saturday Night" sounds as though most of its stories take place on the weekend at an idealized country honky tonk. Many of these drinking holes also feature swinging doors and jukeboxes. They don't seem like citified bars, but they perfectly fit Pardi's ...

Forrest McCurren
Oh Me, Oh My

Forrest McCurren looks like a young man, but sings like a much older person. He has a roughened voice that sounds nearly just like John Prine's at times, and his detailed songs are utterly believable slices of life. You feel like you're visiting McCurren's blue collar neighborhood; one ...

The Alex Leach Band
All the Way

As he's matured, many of us have grown up with Alex Leach. He knows more about bluegrass than most of us can pretend to. Now into his early thirties, Leach not only continues to host his weekly "Bluegrass Special," but brings us the morning show each day from Knoxville's venerable ...

Kelsey Waldon
No Regular Dog

Kelsey Waldon sings with a distinctly country vocal tone, and producer Shooter Jennings surrounds the singer/songwriter with plenty of traditional instrumentation. However, her lyrics go so much deeper than superficial references to sweet tea and red dirt roads, as is the case with too much modern country music. ...

Wade Bowen
Somewhere Between The Secret And The Truth

It's always rewarding whenever the meaning of song sneaks up on you, which happens with the tile track ("Somewhere Between The Secret and The Truth") of Wade Bowen's fine album. He sets us up all the way through, dropping hints about all the little ways he's keeping secrets from his spouse. ...

Fireside Collective
Across The Divide

As with many bands and artists, the pandemic forced the members of Fireside Collective to retreat into isolation – in their case, writing and recording new songs in a North Carolina cabin, thus substantially shrinking their world. Oddly, this time of withdrawal produced the band's most ...

Dylan Scott
Livin' My Best Life

Dylan Scott's second album is a study in contradiction. "Livin, My Best Life" may seem unwieldy at first with 16 tracks, but it clocks in in just under an hour thanks to five songs that come in under the industry's three-minute Mendoza line. It also has an air of familiarity due to ...

Various Artists
Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson

It might be said that John Anderson is an underrated country artist. You just don't see his name regularly dropped the way you see, say, George Strait's. However, the "Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute to John Anderson" makes a good case for this man deserving legendary status. ...

Amanda Shires
Take It Like A Man

It's been said (maybe, a little too often) that the best things come to those who wait, but the cliché holds true with Amanda Shires' album "Take It Like A Man," as its second to last song, "Lonely At Night," is also its best selection. It's a piano ballad, in ...

Monica Taylor
Trains, Rivers, & Trails

Oklahoma roots royalty turn out to support Monica Taylor, dubbed "The Cimmaron Songbird" for "Trains, Rivers & Trails," her third solo album and ninth overall, coming near Woody Guthrie's 110th birthday. While there are a dozen musicians and singers in the credits, suffice it ...

John Moreland
Birds in the Calling

John Moreland oftentimes gets lumped into the Americana genre, probably because he doesn't really fit anyplace else. Although he's from Longview, Texas, he's recorded for the alternative label 4AD in the past. That's a British imprint better known for alternative acts, like Cocteau ...

Positive Vibrations
Country Goes Reggae

Successful musical mashups can oftentimes turn into viral videos. The creative audacity of mixing and matching diverse genres can many times produce unlikely musical magic. With "Country Goes Reggae," producers Christian and Frank Berman (The Berman Brothers) and partner Ron Oehl have ...

Acoustic Syndicate
All in Time

North Carolina's bluegrass/roots fusion band Acoustic Syndicate has been making music for over a quarter of a century. Yet, "All in Time" is their first album in nine years. Theirs is a stew of southern roots music and doses of improvisation, not unlike a jazz group, especially in a live setting. ...


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