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Scott, Owen, McKenna lead new sounds

Friday, July 29, 2016 – Hillary Scott released her first album apart from Lady Antebellum, and she goes a very different route. "Love Remains" is essentially a religious/spiritual album from Hillary Scott & The Scott Family, which consists of her sister, Rylee, and parents (Linda Davis, who enjoyed a hit or two back in the day, is her mom, while songwriter Lang Scott is her father). "They Will" is the first single from the project, which was produced by Ricky Skaggs. After the passing of her grandfather in 2011, Hillary Scott alongside her family, leaned on faith and music. The Scott family wanted to thank loved ones for their support and set out to record demos of family-favorite hymns. As the summer of 2015 wound down and Lady Antebellum went off the road, the family's plans for a five-song CD as a gift to family and friends, mushroomed into what is now Hillary Scott & The Scott Family's debut.

Jake Owen releases his fifth studio album, "American Love." The 11-song release includes "American Country Love Song" with Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn fame singing. Owen co-produced seven tracks with Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman and four with Lukas Bracewell. The release follows Owen's divorce.

Lori McKenna is beset known these days as a songwriter. Helping write a song like "Girl Crush" will do that for you, but the Massachusetts native also has a long history of releasing her own albums. "The Bird & The Rifle," her 10th, is out today and includes her version of "Humble & Kind," a hit for Tim McGraw. The 11-song disc was produced by Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton).

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CD reviews

The Tree CD review - The Tree
It's difficult to know where to start when praising Lori McKenna's "The Tree." It's so good in so many ways. Artists like Little Big Town and Tim McGraw have benefited greatly from recording McKenna songs, yet it's unlikely many mainstream country music fans recognize her name. Fans of Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, two women that consistently and effectively write straight from the heart, would love McKenna's songs -- if only given the chance. »»»
American Love CD review - American Love
Most everyone has made up their mind on bro-country music. Maybe you love the breezy images of the beach dippin' and sippin' lifestyle, or you write it off as empty headed and repetitive. Either way, Florida native Jake Owen was a torchbearer for the genre, and it's rewarded him well - four albums and five Number One singles (remember "Beachin"?). His career has been on a more-or-less upward arc, with higher-profile tours and bigger hits each time out. »»»
The Bird & The Rifle CD review - The Bird & The Rifle
Lori McKenna's back story is a country song brought to vivid yet unaffected life. Married with five children, the Massachusetts native began exploring her longstanding musical gifts - she wrote her first song at 13 - by playing for family and friends, who then forced her to attend a regional coffee house open mic. After two years of regular gigging with her poignant songs of everyday life and becoming a favorite among Boston folk fans, McKenna self-released her debut, "Paper Wings and »»»
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: Pistol Annies hit the targets – Pistol Annies, the all-star trio comprised of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, made the last stop of its short tour a downtown Los Angeles date. This was the last show, that is, until after the pregnant Presley gives birth to her child. Traveling in support of the act's third album "Interstate Gospel," these talented... »»»
Concert Review: Williams brings the joy back – It's not as if Lucinda Williams has been idle. Far from it this year, but 20 years on, Williams decided to trot out her masterpiece "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" as the centerpiece of her tour. Music and artist have held up exceedingly well. Williams had always been a well thought of performer, although she was not too big when it came... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

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Christmas Everywhere CD review - Christmas Everywhere
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Radio Hymns CD review - Radio Hymns
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The Southern Ground Sessions CD review - The Southern Ground Sessions
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Live at the Ryman CD review - Live at the Ryman
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Chasing Butterflies CD review - Chasing Butterflies
Edward David Anderson is releasing his third solo album, having done five with Backyard Tire and three with Brother Jed. His solo efforts have been widely lauded, and this collection of tunes recorded in Muscle Shoals should bring plaudits too.  »»»
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.  »»»