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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: 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.... »»»
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.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
Bigger CD review - Bigger
Sugarland is back with "Bigger," its first studio album in nearly a decade. And its arrival says more about branding, than anything else. Although his voice is heard often enough on this album to make his presence felt, it's still difficult to get away from seeing Kristian Bush in the Oates to Hall or Ridgeley to Michael role in this duo.  »»»
This One's For You Too CD review - This One's For You Too
Luke Combs has gotten a lot of life out of his album "This One's for You," which includes his breakthrough hit "Hurricane," as well as the popular single "When It Rains It Pours." This deluxe edition includes five new tracks, many of which are just as strong as the original 12.  »»»
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. »»»