Monroe, Chambers return
Friday, July 24, 2015
– Women lead the list of new discs out today with Ashley Monroe and Kasey Chambers.
Monroe is releasing her follow-up to 2013's "Like a Rose" with "The Blade." Once again, Vince Gill and Justin Niebank produced the music. Monroe, who is also a member of Pistol Annies, adopts a bit less of a traditional country feel on the 13 new songs. Monroe had a hand in writing 12 of the 13 songs. She wrote two of the songs with the duo Striking Matches.
Chambers returns with her first solo disc in four years, "Bittersweet." Chambers, 39, entered the studio without her brother and regular producer Nash Chambers. The Aussie also varies the music away from country, although that is part of the equation.
Watkins Family is comprised of a bunch of musical veterans, but this is the conglomerate's first disc together, The band features Sean and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek fame, Fiona Apple, who has enjoyed her own solo career, Benmont Tench, Greg Leisz, Sebastian Steinberg and Don Heffington. The disc is mainly comprised of covers of the likes of Harland Howard, Roger Miller, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot.
Any double album is a project that comes with plenty of obstacles, namely trying to ensure the quality on the first song and the quality on the 20th song (or more) are relatively similar. For Australian singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers, she's decided to work that 2-disc muscle on the 20-track, two-disc "Dragonfly." It's an ambitious idea, and clearly she has something to say. But it's also one with thankfully only a few pitfalls between songs that are easy keepers. ...
Ashley Monroe gains more acclaim for other projects than she does for her own solo efforts. Monroe is one third of side group Pistol Annies. She sang with Blake Shelton on his hit "Lonely Tonight." She received praise for her first proper solo album (her ill-fated Satisfied" was released three years after its completion by her former label, Sony), "Like a Rose," in 2013, although that was a release that stood on the strength of the songs because three singles produced zero hits. ...
Australian songwriter Kasey Chambers has never managed to gain the profile elsewhere that she has Down Under, despite consistently releasing great albums as a solo artist and as a duo with her ex-husband. Almost a full year after initially releasing "Bittersweet," Chambers is giving the strong album an official U.S. release.
Since her debut in 1999, Chambers has always maintained a fiercely independent spirit. Over nine albums, she has explored folk, pop and blues music in addition to ...