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Country Standard Time News Magazine – updated September 1, 2014
 

Country Music News


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CD Reviews and Upcoming Releases

CD review - NASHVILLE OUTLAWS: A Tribute To Motley Crue Various Artists If you're expecting down home, countrified versions of metal band Motley Crue songs from NASHVILLE OUTLAWS: A Tribute To Motley Crue, you probably don't listen to a whole lot of mainstream "country" music. Most likely, this album's original conception was a rather crass attempt to capitalize on the large contingent of classic rock fans that also listen to and enjoy older rock's continuing influence on contemporary country music. »»»
CD review - The No-Hit Wonder Cory Branan After only four albums in a dozen years, there's a certain truthfulness that comes with a title like The No-Hit Wonder. On the other hand, Cory Branan's apparent attempt at modesty belies a talent that deserves to garner notice, thanks to a wry yet infectious songwriting style that takes pains to share its strengths without ever requiring a second listen. If Branan is reticent to show he's worthy of chart placement, it's certainly not evident here. »»»
CD review - Provoked Sunny Sweeney When we last heard from Sunny Sweeney in 2011 with "Concrete," her major label debut on Big Machine showed a very different side of Sweeney, whose album 5 years earlier was appropriately titled "Heartbreakers Hall of Fame." Texas honky tonk and traditional country songs blanketed her debut, but the same could not be said for "Concrete," which was the kind of disc that those bemoaning slicked up country had reason to be right. »»»
CD review - Lonesome and Then Some Larry Sparks Through 50 years, Larry Sparks has honed a full-bodied, soulful approach to singing bluegrass. He has a wonderful right hand, maintaining unbreakable rhythm while contributing leads that lend a bluesy country resonance to his songs. Sparks and his band form the consistent instrumental core with The Lonesome Ramblers appearing throughout. »»»
CD review - Too Flatt Lonesome The current darlings of bluegrass, Flatt Lonesome returns with its second album; Too is a considerable improvement over last year's inconsistent debut. The strength of this family-based band, centered about the Robertson siblings, remains the passion for vocal performance. Whether considering Buddy's straightforward approach on "Dangerous Dan" or the sweet back-and-forth of sisters Charli and Kelsi, there is no denying the vocal prowess of this six-piece. »»»
Concert Review: It's closing time for Philly Folk with Wainwright, Steep Canyon Rangers – Philadelphia Folk Festival Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, PA August 17, 2014 (Sunday) With five smaller stages going simultaneously and featuring various combinations of the hired talent, it's literally impossible to see everything at the 53rd Philadelphia Folk Festival on closing day, and choosing wisely involves considerable time looking... »»»
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Trampled by Turtles get wild – Country music feature - Trampled by Turtles get wild Trampled By Turtles is an indie folk group, an alt.-country band or a bluegrass act - depending on how you choose to look at them. Perhaps it's best to view the outfit as the ultimate combo platter consisting of just about everything that's good about American music. They play wonderfully, yet they also write intelligent songs that draw everyone from Townes Van Zandt to Nirvana to Ralph Stanley. It's all good, and some (or all) of these influences can be spotted in most of Trampled By Turtles' enjoyable sounds. »»»
Don't try labeling Parker Millsap – Country music feature - Don't try labeling Parker Millsap If you move in alt.-country/Americana circles, you simply cannot get away from the name Parker Millsap. He's certainly one of the biggest buzz artists of 2014. Better still, his self-titled album lives up to all the hype. He's a smart songwriter and a passionate singer and is essential listening for anybody looking for high quality contemporary music. Millsap also creates music appealing to a wide variety of musical tastes. You can make a case that he's a country guy, but you can also hear a lot of blues and folk. And if you attempt to put a label on him, he'll quickly tear it right off. »»»
Simpson gets metamodern – Country music feature - Simpson gets metamodern What a difference a year can make. Last year, Sturgill Simpson was overly anxious about the arrival of his debut album, "High Top Mountain." This year, Simpson is simultaneously anticipating the birth of his debut child and his just-released sophomore album, "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music," and his mood couldn't be more relaxed and joyous. »»»
Mary Sarah builds "Bridges" – Country music feature - Mary Sarah builds "Bridges" What is not expected is for a virtually unknown artist, turning 19 on the day before her album release and finishing high school during the recording of the album, to be the featured artist, with Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and the late Ray Price lending not only their vocals, but also their most-beloved standards in country music. Texas-turned-Tennessee songbird Mary Sarah Gross - Mary Sarah is her stage name - saw that dream realized on her sophomore album "Bridges." »»»
The Secret Sisters put a new one down – Country music feature - The Secret Sisters put a new one down In October 2010, The Secret Sisters released their down home country meets the Everly Brothers debut to much acclaim. Positive reviews ensued. Having T Bone Burnett executive produce your introduction to the music world didn't hurt. Laura and Lydia Rogers hit the road hard, opening dates for the likes of Ray LaMontagne. The Rogers sisters may not have enjoyed any hits from their self-titled disc, but they put their name on the map. »»»
Lowrey gets personal – Country music feature - Lowrey gets personal Levi Lowrey is best known for co-writing "Colder Weather," a number one hit, and "The Wind," both for his friends, Zac Brown Band. Lowrey also wrote "Day For The Dead," from last year's "The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1." In fact, Lowrey is often on the road opening for the group, but he also has his own career going. Lowrey just released his third disc, a self-titled effort on Brown's label, Southern Ground. »»»
Cash goes back home – Country music feature - Cash goes back home Rosanne Cash may be the daughter of a famous country music icon, but like her late father, Cash is an artist first, and 'country artist' is just one of the many labels applied to what she does. She's first and foremost a songwriter, and her latest album, "The River & the Thread," touches upon country, folk, blues and even gospel styles, with a lyrical focus that placed Cash face to face with her Southern roots. »»»