Sign up for newsletter
 

Keen, Giddens spearhead new releases

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 – Release day today was most busy with everything from a bluegrass disc from one of the foremost Texas singer songwriters to the first release in almost 20 years from an alt.-country band to the first solo disc from one of the mainstays of Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Robert Earl Keen is out with "Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions." He is best known for his Texas singer/songwriter efforts, but Keen wanted to be in a small room full of bluegrass picking as he says in the liner notes. Players included Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek on fiddle and Kym Warner of The Greencards on mandolin.

Rhiannon Giddens helped start Carolina Chocolate Drops, paying homage to black string band music sometimes going back to the 19th century. Here, she is out on her own with "Tomorrow Is My Turn," opting for a variety of styles. T Bone Burnett produced the music, which includes songs made famous by Patsy Cline, Odetta, Dolly Parton and Nina Simone.

Blackberry Smoke drops its fourth disc, "Holding All the Roses" and first on Rounder after being with Zac Brown Band's Southern Ground. The southern band has seen its career go in a steady upward arc.

6 String Drag is a Knoxville-based band that we last heard from 18 years ago. Kenny Roby wrote all of the songs for the band on "Roots Rock 'N' Roll." The band's last disc was "High Hat" in 1997.

Love and Theft is doing things a lot differently with "Whiskey on My Breath." The duo of Stephen Barker Lyles and Eric Gunderson go the acoustic route on a self-released disc after two albums. The group scored a number 1 hit in 2011 with "Angel Eyes," but were eventually dropped by Sony.

More news for Robert Earl Keen

CD reviews for Robert Earl Keen

Live Dinner Reunion CD review - Live Dinner Reunion
Talk about deja vu all over again, Robert Earl Keen's 'new' live album is a two-disc re-living, if you will, of the Texas singer-songwriter's "No. 2 Live Dinner," which was originally recorded in 1990. Performed again in front of an audience at John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, Texas, "Live Dinner Reunion" includes many of Keen's best songs. It also features a few special guests, such as Lyle Lovett and Joe Ely. This guest list is a little »»»
Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions CD review - Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions
Texas songwriter Robert Earl Keen may be known for his storytelling style and rowdy country-folk, but with this new album he reveals his fondness for bluegrass jams while bringing along his usual band and adding special guests Danny Barnes, Sara Watkins, Lyle Lovett, Peter Rowan and Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks. If you're a contemporary bluegrass fan, prepare to be disappointed. Keen's voice isn't the typical smooth instrument of most genre stars, and the set list includes »»»
Ready for Confetti CD review - Ready for Confetti
If Robert Earl Keen had been noted for little more than being Lyle Lovett's neighbor/front porch jam pal at Texas A&M in the '70s and writing The Road Goes on Forever (from his 1989 sophomore album "West Textures") and Merry Xmas from the Family (from his 1994 album, "Gringo Honeymoon"), his status as a Lone Star legend would be well secured. Of course, those are mere bullet-point accomplishments at the top of a long and illustrious resume, and Keen is a Texas music »»»
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: There's a lot to be said about The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers have soldiered on, occupying the fringes of the musical world with ups and downs. After not knowing whether the group would even continue following the departure of half of the band a few years ago, The Felice Brothers continued with a new rhythm section and a new album, "Undressed," that is heavily political.... »»»
Concert Review: Turner bring it on (to his second) home – Frank Turner opined during the first of four sold-out nights of the Lost Evenings Festival that Boston was his home away from his British home. The likable, accessible singer hit the sweet spot not only with his perspective, but his performance as well demonstrated why. Turner made a major change in this year's festival. For the first time, he... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Wilson goes her own way After having huge success at the get go with "Redneck Woman," Wilson eventually went her own way and took a break. During her "hiatus," Wilson started her own label and was a "120 percent mom" to her teenage daughter.... »»»
Carll tells it like it is A visit with Hayes Carll finds him taking a rare day off at home to discuss new album "What It Is" co-produced by Brad Jones and Carll's girlfriend, Allison Moorer. "This album works around three themes; our relationship (he and Moorer), the world and myself.... »»»
Watson gets "Lucky" Dale (The Real Deal) Watson has been releasing hard country albums since 1995 and shows no signs of slowing down on his most recent release, "Call Me Lucky." This record marks his third effort recorded in Memphis, at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, with Watson's regular touring band, The Lone Stars.... »»»
Front Porch CD review - Front Porch
Joy Williams' "Front Porch" album is a beautiful collection of acoustic, country-folk music. The title cut, for instance, includes sweet fiddling, while the rest of the album takes an appreciated low-key approach to its instrumentation. »»»
Hellbent CD review - Hellbent
Randy Rogers makes a big, bold statement with his title track, but it's the smaller insightful moment expressed through "Wine In A Coffee Cup" that stands out most. Rogers sings it empathetically over a swaying groove... »»»
When You're Ready CD review - When You're Ready
One of the most celebrated acoustic guitarists working within the Americana field, Molly Tuttle is two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitarist of the Year, the first female to be so honored. »»»
Stronger Than the Truth CD review - Stronger Than the Truth
The beauty of Reba McEntire's albums flows from her way with a phrase, knowing when to modulate to carry us deeper into sadness or joy and when to pull back when she wants us to listen quietly to the lessons of a tear falling. »»»
Reboot CD review - Reboot
Brooks and Dunn return with the duo's first studio album in a dozen years. Sort of. That's because they revisit a dozen of their hits (leaving a bunch behind) with contemporary country singers. »»»
GUY CD review - GUY
A decade after recording his tribute to Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle has released an album of Guy Clark covers. It includes, perhaps, Clark's best-known songs, "L.A. Freeway" and "Desperados Waiting For A Train," as well as a  »»»