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Willis, Harmon lead releases

Friday, May 18, 2018 – Kelly Willis returns with her first solo album in almost 11 years, while Trent Harmon, who won American Idol in 2016, releases his debut.

Willis is out with "Back Being Blue," a 10-song set produced by her husband, Bruce Robison. The two have released several albums and toured together. Willis adopts a bit more of a soulful approach this time around. Her last solo disc was "Translated from Love" in 2007.

Harmon is out with "You Got "em All," an 11-song disc produced by Jimmy Robbins and Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell). While Harmon had a hand in writing most of the songs, he also covers Sia's "Chandelier."

Jason Boland & The Stragglers are out with their ninth disc in 20 years, "Hard Times Are Relative." The release contains some harder core country along with a variety of other sounds.

The Country Music Hall of Fame put out "Outlaws & Armadillos" along with Sony Legacy. The release is a two-CD set of outlaw country music to coincide with the hall's exhibit "Outlaws & Armadillos: Country's Roaring '70s." Songs include Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way," Rodney Crowell's "I Ain't Living Long Like This" and The Flatlanders' "Dallas."

Songwriter Gretchen Peters is out with "Dancing With the Beast." Peters, perhaps best known for Martina McBride's "Independence Day," produced the set with Doug Lancio and Barry Walsh.

More news

CD reviews

Dancing With The Beast CD review - Dancing With The Beast
Informed by the renewed strength of today's woman's movement, particularly in light of recent cultural social and political upheavals, Gretchen Peters' "Dancing With the Beast" finds her sharing stories about loss, struggle, upheaval, tragedy and turmoil in ways that resonate with a common bond, though told from a woman's perspective. It's a powerful set of songs, mostly echoing a downcast perspective, but each comes across with both enlightenment and emotion, »»»
Hard Times Are Relative CD review - Hard Times Are Relative
Jason Boland and The Stragglers serve up the ninth helping of their unapologetic, get it or not, country, in the past 20 years. This appears to almost be two EP's with the first mostly being a hard country dance cd and the second being a little more "out there" mix of fun and contemplative tunes, much less easy to categorize. Beginning with the stone country "I Don't Deserve You," the Stragglers versatility shines against Boland's baritone (joining on »»»
Trent Harmon CD review - Trent Harmon
"American Idol" has earned its place in history as a star making factory, and voting viewers have enjoyed their early investor pride in the superstar success of winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. But by the 15th lap, the TV competition was gasping. In America Idol's 2016 final show, a 25-year-old Mississippi native named Trent Harmon was chosen for the top prize. With his leprechaun features and aw-shucks delivery, he seemed like another in the yawn parade. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: No lead singer? No problem for The Earls of Leicester – The Earls of Leicester have been in a bind that could have caused other bands to cancel the show. The bluegrass band's lead singer Shawn Camp has suffered from laryngitis for 11 days. What to do? Put the vocals on the cords mainly of acoustic guitarist Jeff White and to a lesser extent Dobro player supreme Jerry Douglas.... »»»
Concert Review: At Newport Folk Festival, discovery rules – One of the enduring highlights of the Newport Folk Festival is the chance of discovery. This is not a festival filled with superstars. Far from it. Yes, there are veterans, who already have made a name for themselves (Brandi Carlile would fill the bill), and there are others who don't even know themselves how they landed in Newport.... »»»
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