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Lori McKenna
Christmas Right Here

Lori McKenna includes a song titled "Christmas Without Crying," which wonders lyrically if it's possible to make it all the way through the Christmas season without crying. It also begs the question: Is it possible to make it through a McKenna album (even just an EP) without shedding a ...

Josh Abbott Band
Christmas Was

The Josh Abbott Band's five-song EP starts out slightly silly, but then gets really serious from the middle to the end. It also surprisingly covers a lot of subject matter ground in a short time span. It opens with "Santa Better Knock," which leans a little to the Eartha Kitt, sexy ...

Skip Ewing

Skip Ewing's "Christmas" EP hits a lot of high marks, and it's only seven tracks long. However, by making all wise choices, Ewing has avoided disappointing the listener – even once – with his highly recommended seasonal offering. Ewing has some fun, as Christmas ...

Amanda Shires
For Christmas

The first thing you may notice about Amanda Shires' "For Christmas" album, is just how much piano is on it. Shires is known for her fiddle playing skills, but this album is not the right forum for a lot of fiddle work. However, Shires' enjoyable vocal vibrato is present throughout ...

Eddie Montgomery
Ain't No Closing Me Down

Like many recent releases, Eddie Montgomery's first solo album was born out of the pandemic. A much more solemn occurrence was the ongoing grief trying to process the 2017 death of his band mate of 35 years, Troy Gentry. The lead-off, title track is a hard charging ode to the pandemic, ...

Mitchell Tenpenny
Naughty House

One big clue that Mitchell Tenpenny's "Naughty List" holiday collection is a winner, is how spontaneous and rocking is his version of "Jingle Bell Rock." He doesn't just repeat the Bobby Helms original, but instead makes it all his own. Then again, with a distinctive ...

Brett Young
Brett Young & Friends Sing The Christmas Classics

Brett Young's Christmas EP is a strange little thing. Like many holiday project creators, Young prefers to look backwards, rather than forward. Hence the phrase 'Christmas Classics' in the album title. Nostalgia is always huge in country music, so this approach makes some sense. ...

Pistol Annies
Hell Of A Holiday

You just knew a Pistol Annies' holiday album would be a little bit twisted. Sometimes more "Merry Christmas from the Family" than, say, "Silent Night." Comprised of three song female voices – Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley – "Hell of a ...

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Georgia Blue

Jason Isbell deserves kudos for putting a unique spin on the benefit album. Instead of throwing together a bunch of many times unrelated celebrities to pitch in, Isbell has brought together talented performers to cover Georgia-related songs and songs by Georgia-based artists. All proceeds support ...

Brandi Carlile
In These Silent Days

Brandi Carlile many times plays the wise (elder?) sage on "In These Silent Days," an album filled with folkish music and much good advice. She sings amazingly well throughout; she could do that without even trying. There are plenty of memorable songs, too, which makes it amount to a fully satisfying album. ...

Billy Strings

It's just like Billy Strings to have a song title that reads like a heavy metal track ("Hellbender") for a tune that sounds like traditional bluegrass music. When it comes to creating music, though, the phrase, 'It's all good,' actually applies to Strings – for once. ...

Kalie Shorr
I Got Here By Accident

When somebody says they come from the Portland music community, odds are you picture the hippie haven in Oregon over the lobster roll lovers in Maine. But Kalie Shorr's atypical in a lot of ways. It's not a standard story to be a young lady from a Nirvana cover band who occasionally sings on the Opry stage. ...

Carly Pearce
29: Written in Stone

Carly Pearce's music is one more good reason to not completely give up on mainstream country radio. Songs like "I Hope You're Happy Now" and "Next Girl" stand out on radio for good reason – they're really good. Pearce's full-length is filled with many such ...

Kacey Musgraves

It's nearly impossible not to read between the lines when listening to Kacey Musgraves' "star-crossed" album, as it's her first release after her divorce from Ruston Kelley. The good news, is that Musgraves doesn't sound angry and out for revenge on her ex. ...

Tim Easton
You Don't Really Know Me

"You Don't Really Know Me," the 10th release for roots singer-songwriter Tim Easton, marks a rebirth of sorts. Easton had seen several things take a collective toll, but now divorced and sober, he describes the album as personal and peaceful. The buoyant title track kicks it off with ...

Sierra Ferrell
Long Time Coming

Sierra Ferrell's songs will appeal to fans of Americana music, especially the more eclectic ones. Her "Long Time Coming" album incorporates plenty of different styles, so the term 'old timey' likely fits it best. For example, "At The End Of The Rainbow" – with ...

Connie Smith
The Cry of the Heart

Many would argue that Connie Smith is the greatest living female country singer. The opening sentence in her liner notes to "Long Line of Heartaches" is "I believe that country music is the cry of the heart." A decade later, it's as if she hasn't missed a beat, ...

Trisha Yearwood
Every Girl: Deluxe

Trisha Yearwood's reissue of 2019's "Every Girl" as a deluxe edition with three new songs makes sense on some level. Logistically, having the title track lead off instead of the somber "Workin' on Whiskey" on the original version sets a more pleasant tone. ...

Dan + Shay
Good Things

With Rascal Flatts gone, the heir apparent to the breezy pop country throne, Dan +Shay has taken its rightful place. Their fourth studio album, "Good Things," is a feather light 12-song cruise suitable for multiple radio formats from adult contemporary to pop and even country, though that ...

Mike and the Moonpies
One to Grow On

Mike And The Moonpies open "One To Grow On" with a true working man's blues called "Paycheck To Paycheck." Although it's a fast-paced country-rocker, featuring plenty of fine picking, its message is as serious as a blue-collar heart attack. The 'Mike' in the ...

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