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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: LSD tour provides a lot of highs – This was not your grandkids' country, that's for sure. Even the name of the tour - the LSD Tour - was a throwback (albeit far before the principals were making music). But make no mistake about it. With the ever cool country traditionalist Dwight Yoakam, the country with some rock and blues and rabble rousing of Steve Earle thrown in and the... »»»
Concert Review: Alvin, Gilmore fortunately get together – Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore had known each other for decades, but it wasn't until last year that they toured together in a guitar pull setting. What started as a small Texas tour mushroomed into points east and west and eventually the release earlier this month of their blues-based disc, "Downey to Lubbock." And now we have the... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Tyminski goes dark Dan Tyminski (known simply as "Tyminski" on his 2017 release "Southern Gothic") has traditional music roots and unassailable bluegrass street cred especially given his membership in Alison Krauss' Union Station. He is also a powerful songwriter and has been writing songs for himself and others for years now.... »»»
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Bigger CD review - Bigger
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This One's For You Too CD review - This One's For You Too
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Things Change CD review - Things Change
There may be no other CD title this year quite as apropos as this one. Things have indeed changed for American Aquarium since their previous studio album (2015's underrated "Wolves"). For one thing 80 per cent of the band quit, leaving only lead vocalist and songwriter BJ Barham. »»»
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. »»»
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. »»»