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JD Clayton
Long Way from Home

JD Clayton is a singer-songwriter from Arkansas making his full-length debut. His fall 2022 EP, "Side A," was his platform for a series of acclaimed performances at the Americana Fest. All five songs appear here. He also had a 2018 EP, "Smoke Out the Fire," produced by Thomas Dulin ...

Pony Bradshaw
North Georgia Rounder

Pony Bradshaw's 2021 "Calico Jim" was a masterpiece that set a high bar for this follow-up "North Georgia Rounder." Rife with similar southern Appalachian imagery from the place he calls home, the album is not as overtly political as its predecessor, a bit more personal, but ...

Becky Buller
The Perfect Gift

Fiddler Beck Buller has sure stocked her album with plenty of A-list talent, an all-star group that includes Vince Gill, Dan Tyminski and Ricky Skaggs. While much of this album is bluegrass or bluegrass-accented, there's also a lot of sonic variety, too. It's sure to please country music ...

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 ...

Rachel Wammack
Dear Christmas

It's impossible to cover every musical side of the holiday season on a full-length album, let alone do it so with a short EP. However, with her brief, four-song project, Rachel Wammack covers much ground on such a limited project. She sings wonderfully well throughout, even if much of the ...

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. ...

Lainey Wilson
Bell Bottom Country

Lainey Wilson was named Billboard's Top New Country Artist of 2021, ACM 2022 New Female Artist of the Year, CMT's 2022 "Breakout Artist of the Year" and scored six CMA Awards nominations, some impressive achievements for a relatively new face on the country music scene. ...

Joe Ely
Flatland Lullaby

The songwriter's prime directive is to translate personal observations and emotions into creative expressions that are more broadly universal. So what happens when a songwriter follows the inverse formula, and channels some of the most categorically omnipresent human feelings into songs that are ...

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 ...

Steven Moore
Just a Little Talk With Myself

Steven Moore is a banjoist that has won several highly rated banjo competitions, including Rockygrass and MerleFest. The Ohio banjo player debuts with "Just a Little Talk with Myself," which is as impressively musically as it is in terms of the stellar guests recruited for the effort. ...

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 ...


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