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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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

Zach Bryan
Summertime Blues

Some have described celebrated singer/songwriter Zach Bryan's style as 'sad boy country' and only this sort of unhappy artist can make even getting off work sound a little depressing. However, Bryan does just that with his "Summertime Blues EP" opener, "Quittin Time. ...

Jim Hurst
From the Ground Up

Jim Hurst remains under-known within the acoustic and bluegrass worlds despite a career of considerable length with numerous accolades. Twice the IBMA's Guitarist of the Year, Hurst has served as a sideman and compatriot to many including Claire Lynch, Missy Raines, Holly Dunn and Trisha Yearwood. ...

Peter Rowan
Calling You From My Mountain

It's been nearly six decades since Peter Rowan came to national renown as lead singer and guitarist for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, and it will likely come as a shock to many bluegrass fans that he turned 80 years old on the Fourth of July this year. Nonetheless, retirement or even ...

Jimmie Allen
Tulip Drive

Nearly smack dab in the middle of a mostly inconsequential collection of songs, Jimmie Allen hits us with "Habits & Hearts," a truly gripping song about substance abuse. "But habits are harder than hearts to break," Allen reminds us during the chorus. Had he given us 16 more songs ...

Brett Eldredge
Songs About You

The title song for Brett Eldredge's "Songs About You" is a slow, soul song. Much of it is set in Chicago, with Eldredge walking city streets and noticing the various tunes being played on radio stations within earshot. And wouldn't you know it, every one of them reminds him of his ...

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Dirt Goes Dylan

Naturally, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gives Bob Dylan songs a little extra twang with "Dirt Does Dylan." They're a fairly traditional country act, after all. Then again, so much of Dylan's music was/is already quite country, so they didn't have to rearrange it all too much. ...

High Valley
Way Back

If there's one thing that the Canadian outfit High Valley knows how to do is to stay in their lane. The Rempel brothers duo is now down to one after Curtis amicably split from the band. The band is known for its unique bluegrass-infused contemporary country, and their sixth album bounces along ...

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