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Emily Duff
Razor Blade Smile

New Yorker Emily Duff has brought out Eric "Roscoe" Ambel's twangy side on "Razor Blade Smile," much as in 2018's "Born on the Ground." When the guitarist/producer gets behind a project, one need take notice. Duff, the rising singer-songwriter, now 32 years ...

The Secret Sisters
Quicksand

It may be a little jarring to hear The Secret Sisters harmonizing over the machine-like percussion of "Heavy Balloon," a Fiona Apple track taken from that singer/songwriter's esteemed "Fetch the Boltcutters" album. Although also colored by soulful organ and sparse electric ...

Tylor & The Train Robbers
Non-Typical Find

This is the third album from Tylor & The Train Robbers. The Boise, Idaho-based band takes its name from the infamous "Black Jack" Ketchum, member of the famed Hole-In-The-Wall Gang. History informs us that Ketchum was of the same ilk as the famous wild bunch led by Butch Cassidy. ...

The Flatlanders
Treasure of Love

Every Flatlanders' album release is a welcome treat, but "Treasure of Love" is especially sweet. Although there are some standout originals on this release, most of these 15 tracks are well chosen cover versions. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock are all distinctive ...

Riley Green
Behind the Bar

Riley Green is one of the guys that gets turned up loud whenever one of his songs comes over the radio. Most of his singles have substance and style. "Behind The Bar" is a small package, only seven songs long, but it still contains a few musical gems. In short, it's mostly a volume-cranker. ...

Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones
Here to Tell the Tale

Hudson Valley, N.Y. might not be the first place one would look to find an authentic rockabilly band, but devotees of this genre are likely already familiar with the quartet, Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones, who now deliver their third and most fully realized album yet. Rockabilly contains a hybrid of ...

Gary Allan
Ruthless

Much of Gary Allan's "Ruthless" leans toward the big, booming production so common in contemporary country today. Even so, Allen also has one of the most compelling male voices in country music; one that more often than not cuts right through all the over embellishments. ...

Gary Louris
Jump for Joy

Gary Louris is, for many, the Jayhawks. Although the band's "XOXO" album from 2020 featured more contributions from his fellow bandmates than usual, it's always Louris' special singing that distinctly sets this band apart from the Americana pack. Maybe there just wasn't ...

Merle Monroe
Songs of a Simple Life

For those who haven't yet picked up Merle Monroe on their bluegrass radar, the first item of business here is to point out that this is not about a front man and his backup crew, not "The Merle Monroe Band" or "Merle Monroe and his Band." It is the collaboration of a ...

Brett Young
Weekends Look a Little Different These Days

It's troubling after listening to an album multiple times in a row, to not have even one song stick in one's memory. However, this is an honest initial response to Brett Young's "Weekends Look A Little Different These Days." It's not so much that the music on Young's ...

Chase Rice
The Album

If you think you Chase Rice's "The Album" sounds familiar, that's because it was released earlier as two EPs. Aptly titled "The Album Part 1 and Part 2," he marries those 11 songs with three new songs and a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line. He showcases his ...

Shannon McNally
The Waylon Sessions

Waylon Jennings albums were often brash, loud affairs, his (and others') electric runs magnified by Richie Albright's frequently booming drums, Duke Goff's pulsating bass notes and Ralph Mooney's whining steel, musicians executing creative and genre-expanding arrangements that ...

Travis Linville
I'm Still Here

"I'm Still Here" is singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Travis Linville's follow-up to 2017's "Up Ahead." Like that one, it's full of well-crafted songs. Although Linville can play any number of instruments ranging from guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, ...

Gary LeVox
One on One

Gary LeVox One On One Big Machine/Capitol Christian Music Group Although Gary LeVox never hid his Christian faith while a member of the popular Rascal Flatts trio, his five-song EP focuses pointedly on songs of belief. Of course, he sings wonderfully throughout. His voice was the most distinctive ...

The Steel Woods
All of Your Stones

"All of Your Stones" began as the third studio album for Southern outlaw rockers The Steel Woods, but resulted in a posthumous release for co-founder and co-songwriter, guitarist Jason "Rowdy" Cope, who contributes most of these songs. Cope passed way too early at the age of 42. ...

Kenny Chesney
Here and Now deluxe

After a storied run including eight Entertainer of the Year awards and two Greatest Hits albums (so far), Kenny Chesney was due for a setback. This one wasn't strictly personal, as the "Chillaxification" Tour got waylaid by a pandemic shutdown that scrapped most everything. ...

Miranda Lambert Jack Ingram Jon Randall
The Marfa Tapes

While Miranda Lambert is the biggest celebrity in a threesome that also includes Jack Ingram and Jon Randall, she's just one member of a songwriting power trio on "The Marfa Tapes." Each participant is a country songwriting superstar, even though many casual mainstream country fans may ...

Ronnie Milsap
A Better Word for Love

There was a time when Ronnie Milsap's soulful approach to making country music was controversial. Some thought he was too pop. However, compared to contemporary country music, Milsap now sounds more traditional than ever. No matter where Milsap has fit along the country spectrum, though, he has ...

Thomas Rhett
Country Again: Side A

Thomas Rhett is in the artistic zone. Rhett Atkins' boy never really struggled to get noticed, but starting around 2015, his impact went nuclear – "Die A Happy Man" wasn't just a number one, but a monster that stayed there for two months. The ACM Award for Entertainer of the ...

Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass
Bluegrass Troubadour

As the old line goes, look up the term "Bluegrass Troubadour" in your dictionary, and you're likely to find Danny Paisley's picture. By his teenage years in the 1970s, he was already a professional bluegrass musician, singing lead and backup in the Southern Mountain Boys, a band ...


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