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Showing posts from November 14, 2010

Review: Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez "The New Bye & Bye: The Best Of The Train Wreck Years 2002-2007"

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Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez are one of the top 10 country duos of all time. When the partnership amiably disbanded, no one expected the two to ever record new music, but Taylor called Rodriguez about releasing a greatest hits record, and the pair decided to record four new songs for the album "The New Bye & Bye: The Best Of The Train Wreck Years 2002-2007."
"Your Name Is On My Lips" is an especially fitting title for the first new song on the disbanded duo's album. On the cut, they both sing: "It is a good thing." They're only half right, because the song is better than good - it's great. Taylor's understated vocals are heartfelt, and Rodriguez has never sounded better. As usual, the instrumentation on the track is near perfect.

The tender "On An Island" showcases the restrained musicianship of two master musicians. Another new song, "Play It Again Sam," offers powerful insight into human emotion and love. The…

Review: Dave Caley "Live This Life"

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Dave Caley loves good, old fashioned country music, and Caley's newest album is a sensational look into the mind and heart of a God-fearing country boy. Dave Caley's biggest hit to date is "God's Grand Ole Opry," which celebrates the traditional country greats of years gone by. However, Caley advances his own career with the new album that blends traditional country with cowboy country and gospel.
Dave Caley's parents probably never imagined that their son would become a country musician when he was born in Blackpool, England. Caley claims Michigan as his home state, and he is in the Michigan Country Music Hall Of Fame. However, Caley and his wife, Christina, now call Kokomo, Indiana home.

The album begins with the title track "Live This Life," which has a cool, retro vibe. The country quotient rises considerably on the gospel-tinged "Chosen One," but Caley's star really shines on the ballad "Hard To Be Honest." Caley&#…

Review: Andy Meadows "Give Me The Microphone"

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Andy Meadows immediately surprises and impresses listeners from the very start of his terrific new album "Give Me The Microphone." You see, the album cover featuring the young and smiling Meadows does not give the slightest hint that this country boy possesses a deep, rich, Josh Turner-esque voice that bolts out of the speakers upon first listen.
The album begins with "Forbidden Bliss" and is followed by the stellar title track "Give Me The Microphone." This cut proves that Andy Meadows has a distinctive country music sound that would be instantly recognizable on country radio.

On "Inspiration," Andy Meadows successfully performs a beautiful country music ballad and proves that he's no one trick pony. However, it is on the next track "Jenna's Song" where Andy Meadows shows he has true star quality. Meadows' lyrics are honest and deeply personal when he confesses that the thought of Jenna is driving him insane. On his websi…

Review: Adam Holt "The Sunday Troubadour"

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The state of Alabama doesn't always get the musical respect it deserves, but up-and-coming country artists like Adam Holt prove that the Gulf Coast state is a hotbed of musical talent. On "The Sunday Troubadour," singer Adam Holt runs the musical gamut of rock 'n' roll, blues, soul and country. And it's darn good.
Holt chose the right song to lead off the the album, because "Door #1" is a bold country anthem with a memorable melody that allows the artist to showcase his most positive country music credential: his golden country rock voice. "Door #1" deserves to be a Top 10 country radio hit, and "Sideways" has much of the same charm.

The next cut "Big Girls" is another bold country cut that pays tribute to a large segment of country music fans who will eat this song up faster than free samples of bacon at the Piggly Wiggly. Holt channels his inner Darius Rucker on the next track "Cheaters Never Win," which al…

Review: Justin McBride "Live At Billy Bob's Texas"

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World champion bull rider Justin McBride knows how to work a ranch, and "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" proves that he can also work the crowd of the most famous stage in Texas country music. McBride is a natural and charismatic entertainer who has a big future in country music.
McBride starts by saying "Hello, Texas" and immediately begins the song "Tonight Ain't The Day," which is a traditional country song that is performed with passion. The outlaw country track "That Was Us" showcases the best aspect of Justin McBride. As a former PBR champion bull rider, McBride has an instant cowboy tough guy appeal that will be massively popular with country music fans. "Don't Let Go" has much of the same charm and a memorable melody.

The cut "Beer Drinkin' Songs" (featuring J.W. Hart) is especially appropriate at the world's largest honky tonk. At the same time, the bull riding champion saved the best track for last: …

Album Review: Richard Craine "The Essence Of My Life"

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Classifying the music contained in Richard Craine's "The Essence Of My Life" is no easy feat. The Bristol, England singer-songwriter would probably best be described as alt country in America. But that label is too simplistic, because it would seem that the essence of Richard Craine's life can be found in the nooks and crannies of the album's ten songs.
"Phoenix Eyes" has  a cool Americana and folk rock vibe that oozes with intensity. The next track, "The River Stroll," will catch listeners off guard, because Craine's intelligent lyrics satisfy the soul.

The most surprising track is the classic rock 'n' roll cut "Mistrust, Mistreatment And Misunderstanding," which has a cool retro vibe. The best chance for a radio chart hit is probably "Simple Things," which offers a memorable chorus and an engaging story. "I Love You" also has chart potential.

"The Essence Of My Life" is an eclectic album t…

Album Review: Brian Burke Band "Unraveled"

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The Brian Burke Band is brand new to the Texas music scene, but you wouldn't guess it from hearing the new album "Unraveled." If Brian Burke can create an album this brimming over with raw talent in only a few months, then he and the boys might be duking it out with the Randy Rogers Band in no time.
Burke briefly attended Blinn College in Bryan, Texas and later Texas State University. His experiences there and a chance meeting with Cory Morrow at a private concert eventually led to a 5 song ep, a move to Fort Worth and, ultimately, the album "Unraveled" beside bandmates Clark Kaupke, Jake Williams and Brian Kirkpatrick.

The first track is "Shore To Shore," which has a pleasing contemporary country sound. However, either "Hope You're Gonna Be Mine" or "Break For You," might have been the best choice for the album's first song. "Break For You" has confident vocals and tight production that build to a rousing cresce…

Review: Marshall Chapman "Big Lonesome" & "They Came To Nashville"

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Nowhere is Marshall Chapman's influence greater than in Nashville, Tennessee, and stories from the lives of her famous friends are the basis of Chapman's compelling new book "They Came To Nashville" and album "Big Lonesome." The book chronicles the lives of country stars you know, and the CD offers her personal reflections on the loss of a musical soulmate.
Chapman recorded almost all of the album "Big Lonesome" after her best friend in music, Tim Krekel, died in June 2009. However, the title track was recorded shortly before Krekel's passing, and he provided the cut's terrific vocal harmony. The title track - recoded using ADAT -  had been lost, but it was later found in steel player Tommy Spurlock's Austin garage and faithfully restored using ProTools. The cut is a fitting tribute to a master musician. In addition, Marshall Chapman has rarely sounded better.

"Down To Mexico" was recorded after a flight to Mexico six days a…

Album Review: Fiery Blue "Fiery Blue"

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Mix a talented New York City singer with an Austin music producer and a San Diego songwriter and you get a spine-tingling sound that blurs the edges of rock, folk and alt-country. Indeed, the self-titled album "Fiery Blue" is a revelation of musical restraint and carefully harnessed talent that will hopefully lead to many more musical collaborations for the talented threesome.
Singer Simone Stevens does a lot of the heavy lifting on the album with an effortless vocal style that is truly pleasing to the ear on the carefully produced first track "Hide Away." However, the album's uber-cool style is obviously due to the hard work of producer Gabe Rhodes.

One of the biggest surprises on the album is the beautiful "Wild Bird," which deserves to be an alt-country chart hit, and Simone Stevens gives her most vulnerable performance here. "Wild Bird" would be a perfect addition to the playlist of Sirius-XM Radio's Coffeehouse channel and a number…

Album Review: Wil Forbis & The Gentlemen Scoundrels "Shadey's Jukebox"

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No one would call Wil Forbis average. If fact, it would probably be fair to say that Wil Forbis and The Gentleman Scoundrel's new alt-country CD "Shadey's Jukebox" is one of the two or three most eclectically entertaining albums of the year.
Besides being a musician, Forbis is also a well-known San Diego pop culture commentator on his site Acid Logic site. However, the album proves that he obviously enjoys exploring all elements of music from pop, to metal to his new-found genre of alt-country. Surprisingly enough, it works.

The project begins with the high-energy "Let's Get High On Jesus." While this song will never be mistaken for gospel music, the track has country charm and could be an alt-country and Americana chart hit.

The next track, "Hope Kills," is a bluesy country rock cut and "Where There's A Will There's A Way" is a big-band style musical treat. Forbis' country juices begin flowing again on "Larelay (Ta…