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Showing posts from September 20, 2009

Review: The Avett Brothers "I And Love And You"

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The Avett Brothers offer satisfying performances with heartfelt lyrics on "I And Love And You." Seth and Scott Avett's unique fusion of Americana and roots along with the capable skills of famed producer Rick Rubin make this the band's best album to date.

The Avett Brothers didn't start out to be the saviors of Americana music, and the brothers developed their signature sound after a not-so successful foray into hard rock music. But these grandsons of a Methodist pastor soon found their calling with a sound that blends elements of rock with bluegrass and country. They have been touring on the indie music scene for more than decade, and "I And Love And You" is The Avett Brothers major label debut on American Recordings/Columbia Records.

The album begins with the hauntingly beautiful title track "I And Love And You." The Avett Brothers offer penetrating lyrics and lush instrumentation. The song has an anthemic quality, and the vocal performance i…

Review: James McMurtry "Live In Europe" CD & DVD

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Live albums are a mixed bag. Usually, they're either not-so-good or somewhat mediocre. However, James McMurtry's new CD & DVD "Live In Europe" defies expectations. It's a barnburner from beginning to end. This is the first time fans can purchase video footage of James McMurtry, and the two discs  - clocking in at about 40 minutes each - share only two of the same songs. So it's a great value.

Actually, the success of "Live In Europe" should not be that big of a surprise, because James McMurtry's terrific 2004 release "Live In Aught-Three" proved that he knew how to make a successful live album, but "Live In Europe" even trumps the 2004 release because of his sincere vocal performance.

The CD begins with the rockin' "Bayou Torture" and is followed by the new classic "Just Us Kids." James McMurtry's live version of "Just Us Kids" shows a new side of the track, and his passionate intensit…

What's New: James McMurtry "Live In Europe" CD & DVD

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James McMurtry's new CD & DVD set "Live In Europe" just arrived at the Country Chart office.  A special edition vinyl LP set is also available. Our full review of James McMurtry "Live In Europe" is coming soon.

From the press release:
James McMurtry’s recent studio albums, 2005’s Childish Things and 2008’s Just Us Kids, earned him formidable accolades. The Village Voice called him “a poet of the people.” Stephen King, writing in Entertainment Weekly, pronounced him “the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation.” 

Yet a lot of current McMurtry converts were introduced through the 2004 release Live in Aught-Three. Live albums aren’t typically greeted with rave reviews, but McMurtry’s rockin’ treatments of songs like “Choctaw Bingo” and “Out Here in the Middle” in concert made an uncanny translation to record. The Austin Chronicle proclaimed, “This is no-frills, freak-flag rock. Turn it up!” PopMatters called it “a snapshot of where McMurtry is now, [marking…

What's New: Derek Sholl "Derek Sholl"

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Derek Sholl's new self-titled album "Derek Sholl" just arrived at the Country Chart office. The current, military-themed single "When They Come Back" is touching people all over the country. Our full review of Derek Sholl "Derek Sholl" is coming soon.

From the press release: 
 Sometimes it takes the rough hand of fate to send a man chasing his true calling in life. As a kid, Derek Sholl dreamed of making it to the big leagues, to feel the incredible power of a ball park cheering for his team, and to knock one into the cheap seats with the game on the line. A common dream, but uncommonly, it came true. Out of high school, this charismatic Southern Californian signed with the Kansas City Royals.

On his fist day as a pro, a wild pitch broke one of his knuckles. While on the injured list, he entertained his teammates by singing the country songs they loved to hear. He soon adopted the passion of the music he imitated, and could be found strumming a guitar…

Review: Mark McKinney "Middle America"

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Mark McKinney's debut album "Get It On" was one of the best Texas country albums of the last few years. And let's be honest, most sophomore albums just don't quite cut it. But fans of the Big Spring, Texas native can rest easy, because "Middle America" is McKinney's best album yet. In fact, this new Red Dirt classic is going to be devoured like steak at the Sizzler by hardworking men and women not just in middle America, but up and down each coast and east and west of the Mississippi.

On the album cover, Mark McKinney looks every bit the Texas country star he's become, and "Middle America" shows his significant maturity as an artist. "Get It On" had four well-received country chart singles and "Middle America" could have more.

The album begins with the ferocious"On The Run," which is a classic southern rock anthem that could find a home on mainstream radio stations that spin Kid Rock records. "On The R…

Review: Cracker “Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey”

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The rock and roll life must suit the hard-working members of Cracker, who have long been known as one of America's best bands. On Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey," Cracker only enhances its already sterling musical reputation, and "Sunrise" is Cracker's best album in well over a decade.
The album begins with the spirited "Yalla Yalla (Let's Go)." Cracker only gets better as time goes by, and "Yalla Yalla" is a tasty musical treat. The upbeat mood continues with the stellar "Show Me How This Thing Works."

Cracker released "Turn On, Tune In Drop Out With Me" to radio with much success, and the song shows a new, more introspective side of Cracker that is immensely appealing. This track has alt-country and Americana appeal, and the sparkling lyrics and top notch vocal performance create a sizzling record. A full album of similar material would be a chart hit for Cracker.

The biggest surprise on the album is the punk…

Review: Tori Sparks “The Scorpion In The Story”

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To call Tori Sparks sultry is a bit of an understatement, because Sparks is a beautiful musical firecracker that is bursting with raw, alt-country energy that is on full display with her new release "The Scorpion In The Story."

The album begins with the roots-infused "Tall Flowers," which has a great Lucinda Williams meets Shania Twain vibe. But the best song on the album is "Leaving Side Of Love." Tori Sparks sings the lyrics with passionate intensity and sincerity.

"The Scorpion In The Story" was conceived as a concept album, and Tori Sparks created a collection of experiences from her travels across North America and Europe. "Penny On A Rail" is the biggest surprise on the album, and it showcases the playful style of Tori Sparks.

"Merry Go-Round" is the song which offers the most fun, and Tori Sparks takes the listener on a ride they won't soon forget with a glorious vocal performance. "Little Wrecking Ball" …

Review: Tommy Webb Band “Heartland”

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Tommy Webb has a beautiful and authentic bluegrass voice that is a breath of fresh air in the music industry. The Eastern Kentucky native's new release "Heartland" is a joyous celebration of life in the heartland of America, and it's an exciting and surprisingly satisfying musical adventure.

The album begins with a traditional country song "Teardrop Inn." This track showcases a brilliantly understated vocal performance from Tommy Webb combined with superb musicianship. In the tradition of Ricky Skaggs, Tommy Webb has significant crossover potential to have both country and bluegrass chart hits.

Tommy Webb's true Kentucky bluegrass roots are on full display with the toe-tapping "Everything You Do." Tommy Webb was born to make good music, and this song is one of his best. "A Hard Row To Hoe" from Webb's first album was included on "Heartland," and it was recently sent to radio where it was warmly received.

The biggest surp…

Review: Pamela Danzy "Let Me Be Me"

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Pamela Danzy is an Austin-based country singer who loves to perform, and her passionate delivery and strong country voice on "Let Me Be Me" have brought her many fans in Texas and beyond.

The album begins with John Hiatt's "Lovers Will." Danzy offers confident vocals and a passionate delivery. "Cryin' Days" is a Texas country-style song that delivers, but the best song on the album is "Save Me." This slow melodic gem shows the true caliber of Danzy's vocal talents.

"Your Love Stays With Me" showcases the crossover potential of Danzy. Country stars like Taylor Swift, LeAnn Rimes and Shania Twain have had success in both pop and country markets with tracks like "Your Love Stays With Me."

The biggest surprise on the album is "One Less Monkey," and it's a blues-infused musical treat, but the album ends with the terrific "When The Day Is Done." Pamela Danzy is at her best with slow, ballads that …