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Showing posts from August 16, 2009

Review: The Kyle Bennett Band "Grey Sunrise"

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The Kyle Bennett Band's self titled debut album, known by fans as "The Red CD," was a bestseller. It introduced a bold and confident Red Dirt, Texas music band ready to take on the world. Today, it's clear that The Kyle Bennett Band, which was formed in 2004, is a little older and a little wiser. Indeed, "Grey Sunrise" takes us on the band members' journey toward maturity - both as musicians and as country boys living in a world of double digit unemployment and substance abuse. Even the album's cover offers a subtle warning about the dangers of carnal temptation.
First of all, The Kyle Bennett Band (KBB) is not a one horse act. Kyle Bennett founded the band with John Siedler, and the band is finished out with guitarist Jon "Fish" Hunt, drummer Beau Brauer and bass player Rody Molder. The five men of the group all have unique strengths and undeniable country music talent. Certainly, the band's blend of fun and professionalism shines thro…

Review: Deryl Dodd "Together Again"

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Authenticity has been the key ingredient for Deryl Dodd's success in country music. And after more than thirteen years since he released his first album with Columbia Records, Deryl Dodd is back with "Together Again," a deeply personal album that might be his best yet.

Deryl Dodd's path to solo country music success began when he worked as a guitar player and back-up singer for Martina McBride. After a successful run in Nashville, Dodd moved back to Texas and was asked to record an album for Smith Music's landmark "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" series of albums. This was followed by "Stronger Proof" and "Full Circle."
But with "Together Again," something seems to have changed in the life and the music of Deryl Dodd. The country music artist seems to be in the midst of rediscovering his musical roots and his connections with loved ones of years gone by. This makes for a compelling album, and "Together Again" is a m…

Review: Jack Ingram "Big Dreams & High Hopes"

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Jack Ingram didn't take the easy route to mainstream country music success. He spent years touring the Texas music circuit and had his ups and downs along the way. However, his perseverance has paid off in a big way, because Jack Ingram's seventh studio album, "Big Dreams & High Hopes," is his best yet.

The project starts off strong with the breezy "Free" by Jay Knowles and Trent Summar. "Big Dreams & High Hopes" also features the heartfelt Top 20 hit "That's A Man," which offers a compelling story in song. The terrific new single "Barefoot And Crazy," which was co-written by Rhett Akins, offers a rockin' beat, guitar solos, crisp lyrics and a pitch-perfect vocal performance from Jack Ingram.
The biggest surprise of the album is the poignant "Seeing Stars" featuring the vocals of Patty Griffin on a track Ingram wrote with Chris Tompkins. The voices of Jack Ingram and Patty Griffin provide glorious harmo…

Review: Sean McConnell “The Walk Around EP”

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Occasionally, even a jaded music journalist is caught off guard. A few weeks ago, our business office received a rather average-looking EP from a new artist named Sean McConnell. On the cover of the EP, McConnell is wearing what appear to be vintage Ray-Bans and a facial expression that makes him seem somewhat aloof - almost like he's hiding something. After pumping up the volume and waiting to be underwhelmed, Sean McConnell's secret was revealed. The magic moment he opened up his mouth, Sean McConnell unleashed his massive lyrical and vocal skills.
The first track of Sean McConnell's “The Walk Around EP” is the terrific "Hold On" which begins with a quiet intensity and slowly builds to a crescendo worthy of the best country and rock musicians. The lyrics are bold, and the tune has a contemporary rock vibe with a great melody. McConnell's songwriting talent is mind-blowing upon first listen, but a little research shows that Sean McConnell has written songs fo…

Review: Adam Hood “Different Groove”

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In the tradition of John Prine and Warren Zevon, Alabama native Adam Hood stands head and shoulders above the rest of the new crop of roots singer-songwriters. In fact, "Different Groove" illustrates Adam Hood's love affair with rock and country music treasures of the past while still breaking new artistic ground.
With ten studio tracks accompanied by a band and three acoustic cuts, Adam Hood's "Different Groove" starts out strong with the blues-infused country track "22 Days Too Long" and is followed by the love song "Shelly" which offers a unique Gavin DeGraw meets Darius Rucker vibe.

The biggest surprise on the album is the classic country track "Late Night Diner." This is an amazing nod by Adam Hood to the pioneers of country music. Indeed, the lyrics are thought provoking, and Hood's vocal performance is pitch-perfect. But the album's finest moment is the cut "Whole Town Talking." The track has beautiful i…

Review: Perfect Stranger “Shake The World”

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Sometimes 'new' just doesn't work in today's savvy consumer marketplace - think "New Coke' and the failure of clear alcoholic beverages like Miller's Clear Beer and Zima. But there's an exception to every rule, and the new Perfect Stranger is runaway success. Indeed, "Shake The Wold" proves that new can triumph over old.

Founded in Carthage, Texas in 1986, Perfect Stranger had a massive country hit in 1995 with "You Have The Right To Remain Silent" on Curb Records, and the band even received a nod for best new group at Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards.

"Shake The World" starts out strong with the male to newly curvy female shout-out "Hey Virginia." And the album really picks up steam with the terrific "Can't Run Away" which boasts harmonies worthy of Emerson Drive or Rascal Flatts. Likewise, the title track "Shake The World" proves the band is back to its winning formula of powerful ly…

Review: Jackson Taylor & The Sinners “Aces ‘N Eights”

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Jackson Taylor & The Sinners new album “Aces ‘N Eights” is a deliciously confident and bold Texas music triumph that harkens back to the great outlaw country albums of years gone by.

Taylor is a classic country, honky-tonk star because he brings a gritty realism and blue-collar authenticity to his country tales of love and loss. Jackson Taylor is a storyteller in the tradition of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. This is meat and potatoes country, and it's darn good eatin'.
“Aces ‘N Eights” begins with the terrific "Back On The Bottle" which is a breezy and laid-back ode to country music's love affair with booze and whiskey. Jackson Taylor & The Sinners know how to rock, and they prove it with the superb "Ball And Chain," "Country Song," and "Highway 101." But the band's star shines brightest on the melodic "Barefeet On The Dash" and the classic country track "Sex, Love & Texas."