Wanda Jackson, Simpson, McMurtry, Booth, Williams lead new releases
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Wanda Jackson, Simpson, McMurtry, Booth, Williams lead new releases

Friday, August 20, 2021 – The Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, makes her "Encore" today with a eight-song set on Big Machine. Jackson, 82, retired from touring in 2019, but her songwriting continued. She contributed four of the songs. She also covered the Johnny Tillotson hit "It Keeps Right On A Hurtin'." Joan Jett, Kenny Laguna, Jordan Simpson, Jackson's granddaughter, and Alden Witt produced. Jett also helps out with vocals on several songs. Jackson is known for her hits "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad," "Mean, Mean Man," "Fujiyama Mama" and "Let's Have A Party."

Sturgill Simpson continues his bluegrass explorations with a concept album, "The Ballad of Dood and Juanita." This is Simpson's third album in 12 months, having dropped "Cutting Grass Vol. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions" in October 2020 and "Cutting Grass Vol. 2" in December 2020. Written and recorded in less than a week, the disc features the same musicians who played on the "Cuttin' Grass" albums.

James McMurtry's new effort, "The Horses and the Hounds," is the singer's first release in seven years. McMurtry recorded the new album with producer Ross Hogarth (Ozzy Osbourne, John Fogerty, Van Halen, Keb' Mo') at Jackson Browne's Groove Masters in Santa Monica, Cal. McMurtry and Hogarth first worked together 30 years ago, when Hogarth was a recording engineer in the employ of John Mellencamp at Mellencamp's own Belmont Studios near Bloomington, Ind. Hogarth recorded McMurtry's first two albums, "Too Long in the Wasteland" and "Candyland," for Columbia Records and later mixed McMurtry's first self-produced album, "Saint Mary of the Woods," for Sugar Hill Records.

Tyler Booth, a 24-year-old Kentucky native, is out with a six-song EP, "Grab the Reins." Booth has a more traditional approach that recalls Jamey Johnson. Booth gained some attention with his song "Hank Crankin' People." He released two singles on Sony in 2019 after self-releasing a self-titled EP in 2017.

Runaway June is out with a three-song EP, "backstory." Each song is a different type of break-up song. The group consists of Naomi Cooke, Natalie Stovall and Jennifer Wayne. Stovall joined the group last year following the departure of Hannah Mulholland. The set was produced by Dann Huff and Mark Trussell.

Sam Williams, a grandson of Hank Sr. and son of Hank JR., is out with "Glasshouse Children" on Mercury Nashville. The record includes co-writes with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Sean McConnell and Jaren Johnston of The Cadillac Three. Dolly Parton helps out on "Happy All The Time" and Keith Urban on "Kids.

Country singer Sierra Ferrel makes her Rounder debut with "Long Time Coming." The West Virginia native was produced by Australian musician Stu Hibberd and 10-time Grammy-winner Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Sarah Jarosz) co-produced the album, which Ferrell recorded at Nashville's Southern Ground and Minutia studios. Sierra is also joined by Billy Strings, Sarah Jarosz, Dennis Crouch, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien and Chris Scruggs.

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CD reviews

CD review - The Horses and The Hound Parents often seem larger than life to their kids, but talk about a large shadow. James McMurtry's father, Larry wrote novels that were both literary and popular (Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment). James' mother also wrote books and taught college English. So it's pretty clear where all this was headed when James got his first guitar in the late 60s at age seven - the Texas boy was raised to sing with heart and paint with words. Signed to Columbia, the ...
CD review - 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 its bluesy, woozy horn section – sounds like an early jazz era speakeasy number. With its steel guitar and fiddle, "Bells Of Every Chapel" is far more country-ish, however. ...
CD review - When I Think About Christmas EP Runaway June put a lot of thought in how their five-song holiday project would sound. Yes, three of these five selections are already overly familiar tunes to most of us. Yet, you haven't heard them sung exactly like this before. The trio Runaway June put their vocal harmony skills to excellent use throughout this lovely little treat - its first with Natalie Stovall. Additionally, the music is real country, too. Opener, "Christmas on the Radio" celebrates popular holiday ...

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