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Nettles "Plays" with new label

Friday, May 13, 2016 – Jennifer Nettles is out today with her second solo release, "Playing With Fire." This marks her debut with Big Machine after releasing "That Girl" in 2014 on Mercury. Nettles wrote 7 of the dozen songs with Brandy Clark on the new set. Jennifer Lopez has a guest vocal turn on the closing track, "My House." The first single from the Dann Huff-produced release was "Unlove You."

Darrell Scott may be better known for his songs recorded by others ("You'll Never Harlan Alive" by Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless and "Long Time Gone" by the Dixie Chicks), but he's enjoyed a long career as an artist in his own right. "Couchville Sessions" has an unusual history in that the songs were first recorded in the springs of 2001 and 2002 with Danny Thompson, Kenny Malone and Dan Dugmore in Scott's living room. Fast forward to spring 2015 when Bill Payne sat in on keyboards and piano with a master overdubbing. Scott also covers James Taylor, Townes Van Zandt, Peter Rowan, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash on the set.

The 2013 debut from Hard Working Americans was apparently no fluke. The group of singer Todd Snider, bassist Dave Schools from Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks, younger brother to Derek, on drums, is out with "Rest in Chaos," a 13-song set.

Another installment from the "Nashville" TV show is out. "The Music of Nashville Original Soundtrack Season 4/Volume 2" drops today with 17 songs with Buddy Miller once again producing. Singers include Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack, Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton.

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CD reviews

To Celebrate Christmas CD review - To Celebrate Christmas
Christmas is a season that calls into view that old adage that "bigger is always better." Bigger trees, bigger light displays, and bigger presents are, if we're being totally honest, always welcome. When it comes to the music, it's very much the same. While the quiet, jazz-tinged standards of Crosby or Cole go well over a hot cup of cocoa, few things get our holiday juices flowing like a big, joyous Christmas favorite. And who better to deliver those songs from her big »»»
Couchville Sessions CD review - Couchville Sessions
For those who remain unaware of Darrell Scott, "The Couchville Sessions" is an ideal starting place. Long one of "rock, folk, country (and) blues" (to misquote the lead track, "Down to the River") most esteemed sidemen (Robert Plant's Band of Joy, Guy Clark, Steve Earle), collaborators (Tim O'Brien) and songwriters ("Long Time Gone," "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive," "It's A Great Day to Be Alive," "Hank »»»
Playing With Fire CD review - Playing With Fire
If you happened to hear Jennifer Nettles' debut solo record, "That Girl," you may have come away thinking that she was a frustrated torch singer. That effort was chock full of emotive ballads, which, while heartfelt, sure was missing a certain element of F-U-N. Problem solved. From the opening sustain of gospel organ, Nettles storms out of the gate in a sensational tour-de-force. Everything about the record screams fearlessness, whether it's in the sweet abandon of the 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: Mumford and Sons up to snuff, for the most part – Mumford and Sons have always played it smart when it has come to career moves. They have not overtoured by becoming regular fixtures on the touring circuit. Their M.O. is to tour just enough upon an album release and then disappear for a stretch. Ditto for releasing new music ("Delta" just came out last month, Mumford's first release... »»»
Concert Review: Despite small crowd, Hood accomplishes mission – It would have been quite easy to think that Adam Hood would have mailed in this gig. It could not have been easy to make your debut in the Boston area after putting out seven albums, not to mention having songs picked by A list artists, and having maybe 25 people show up. If the Alabama native was dissuaded by the small crowd, he did not show it.... »»»
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Currently at the CST blogs

Taylor uncovers the past, offering new perspectives Suffice it to say that the past has always loomed large throughout Chip Taylor's career. That's all the more obvious if only for the fact that Taylor wrote some of the biggest pop hits of the '60s, "Wild Thing"... »»»
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Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Woven Waters CD review - Woven Waters
Tellico hails from that bastion of bluegrass and hybrid bluegrass, Asheville, N.C. to deliver its sophomore album "Woven Waters.'' This effort melds their rather inherent bluegrass affinities with British Isle influences,  »»»
Christmas Everywhere CD review - Christmas Everywhere
Rodney Crowell's "Christmas Everywhere" is a (mostly) melancholy collection of songs, with Christmas time as its setting. It's a strong set of carefully worded tunes, set to widely varying musical backings.  »»»
The Southern Ground Sessions CD review - The Southern Ground Sessions
Blackberry Smoke's "The Southern Ground Sessions" EP is five versions of songs from the band's recent "Find a Light" album, along with a cover of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky," which also features vocalist/violinist Amanda Shires. »»»
Hard Times and White Lines CD review - Hard Times and White Lines
Whitey Morgan's fourth studio release exhibits the singer/songwriter's reverence for outlaw country and southern rock. The influence of Hank Williams, Jr. is evident on the opening "Honky Tonk Hell" with lyrics that »»»
Live at the Ryman CD review - Live at the Ryman
Jason Isbell didn't record this live effort at The Ryman Auditorium as a gesture to be country music's savior at The Mother Church of Country Music. The Alabama native's music is country-adjacent at best, more than it is »»»
The Place That You Call Home CD review - The Place That You Call Home
The unusual name Ever More Nest is the project name for New Orleans-based, Shreveport, La.- raised singer-songwriter Kelcy Wilburn (aka Kelcy Mae). She has the poet's gift for lyrics and an engaging, lovely voice.  »»»