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Country Standard Time News Magazine – updated March 24, 2017
 

Country Music News


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CD Reviews and Upcoming Releases

CD review - The Drugstore Gypsies The Drugstore Gypsies In a time when good old fashioned electric guitar rock has grown a bit stagnant, a fresh new quintet from Texas is stepping up to provide a jolt courtesy of a concise and confident debut that makes a case for the genre by adding touches of blues, country and southern rock to muscular classic rock riffs. »»»
CD review - Universal Favorite Noam Pikelny Noam Pikelny is the most ingratiating musical iconoclast you're likely to come across. He has deep roots in the Americana genre, and his playing, on banjo in most contexts, is precise and brilliant. Pikelny has produced a string of outstanding solo records, most recently Universal Favorite»»»
CD review - Vaquero Aaron Watson Independent singer/songwriter Aaron Watson's Vaquero is an ambitious 16-song mix of Texas country and mainstream Nashville with mostly good results. The strongest tracks are those that embrace the Tex Mex style of the title track, which imparts some sound advice delivered by an "old Mexican cowboy" the singer meets in a bar ("don't live your life like a sad country song/ A fool on a stool still a fool right or wrong"). »»»
CD review - Graveyard Whistle Old 97's Old 97s' "Graveyard Whistling" is a slight return to form after 2014's "Most Messed Up," which was heavy on profanity, but far too light on charming country songs. "Graveyard Whistling" is a little more innocent and a lot more fun than its predecessor. "Bad Luck Charm," for instance, finds lead vocalist Rhett Miller playing a familiar role - that of lovable loser. »»»
CD review - Freedom Highay Rhiannon Giddens Rhiannon Gidden's "Freedom Highway" takes an expansive look at the Black experience in America. "Better Get It Right the First Time" utilizes a gospel-y call and response format to tell the tragic story of a Black life that mattered. However, Giddens goes all the way back to slavery days for the lyrics to "At the Purchaser's Option." »»»
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Gibson Brothers rise up from "In the Ground" – Country music feature - Gibson Brothers rise up from "In the Ground" There's no more solid live bluegrass show than the Gibson Brothers. They play with great technical skill and crispness. Their harmonies are just what a brother act should be: sweet, true and never forced. Brothers Leigh and Eric Gibson surround themselves with outstanding sidemen with impeccable bluegrass cred: Jesse Brock (mandolin), Mike Barber (bass) and Clayton Campbell on fiddle. »»»
The Devil Makes Three examine salvation, sin – Country music feature - The Devil Makes Three examine salvation, sin For nearly a decade and a half, The Devil Makes Three has concocted an amazing blend of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, rockabilly and whatever happens to bubble to the surface, and applied it liberally to their songwriting ethic. »»»
For Shires, home is where the family lies – Country music feature - For Shires, home is where the family lies Mercy Rose Isbell recently celebrated her first birthday and, ironically, the album she helped inspire has just been released. Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. Mercy Rose is, of course, the daughter of singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, two of the most gifted Americana artists working today... »»»
The Earls of Leicester rattle and roar – Country music feature - The Earls of Leicester rattle and roar Something old is new again. The Earls of Leicester, fresh from their first release in late 2014 and the IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award for 2015, followed that remarkable success with "Rattle and Roar." »»»
Watkins does all the right things on "Young in All the Wrong Ways" – Country music feature - Watkins does all the right things on "Young in All the Wrong Ways" In the nine years since Nickel Creek declared itself on indefinite hiatus, violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins has been relentlessly busy. She discovered a new pathway for her harmonic gifts with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan in the vocal trio I'm With Her. »»»
Lonely Heartstring Band navigates "Deep Waters" – Country music feature - Lonely Heartstring Band navigates "Deep Waters" Four years after forming in Boston and a year after receiving their first major award (an IBMA Momentum nod), when most bands might be expected to have two or three already in circulation, the Lonely Heartstring Band finally has its first full-length CD release "Deep Waters" (Rounder) out on the street. »»»
Concert Review: The Surly Gentlemen prove anything but – For about the past six months, veteran bluegrassers Clay Hess, formerly of Kentucky Thunder, and Tim Shelton of NewFound Road, along with Clay's son Brennan, have collectively been The Surly Gentlemen. The trio's sound is probably best described as stripped down bluegrass meets singer/songwriter. These Surly Gents have been playing small... »»»