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Urban, Atkins, Flatlanders top new releases

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 – It's a big day for new releases with superstar Keith Urban, Rodney Atkins, a well-respected, veteran trio of country performers and a few bluegrass albums from stars in that genre as well among the releases.

Urban is out with "Defying Gravity," (Capitol Nashville) which contains his 18th top 10 single, Sweet Thing. The CD contains 11 songs. Urban will tour behind the package later this year with Taylor Swift opening.

Rodney Atkins broke big time with his last release, "If the You're Going Through Hell," with four songs hitting number one. "It's America" (Curb) drops today. The title track is the first single and another hit for Atkins.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely are back for another go-round as The Flatlanders. "Hills And Valleys" (New West) comes out today with their first CD in five years and only the fourth in three decades. The trio wrote 8 of the 13 songs on the disc produced by Lloyd Maines.

On the bluegrass front, last year's breakout act, Dailey & Vincent are out with "Brothers From Different Mothers" (Rounder). Their self-titled debut earned them numerous IBMA and SPGMA awards. The new CD contains a dozen songs, which they produced. The Statler Brothers remain a touchstone for Dailey & Vincent with the duo covering two of their songs and one written by Jimmy Fortune, who also was in the group. The sound consists of Southern gospel, country music, folk-oriented music and bluegrass.

Bobby Osborne may be getting closer to 80, but his singing prowess remains intact on "Bluegrass & Beyond" (Rounder), done with his backing band the Rocky Top X-Press. The 12 songs cover bluegrass, gospel, soul and country. Appearing are Marty Stuart and Connie Smith (What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul) and Rhonda and Darrin Vincent (After the Fire Is Gone. The band consists of Osborne (mandolin & vocals), Bobby Osborne Jr. (bass), Dana Cupp (banjo), Richard Bennett (guitar), and Glen Duncan (fiddle).

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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