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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

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 »»»
Numbered Doors CD review - Numbered Doors
Singer-songwriter Lori McKenna has forged a career built on consistently strong if sadly under-appreciated albums. However while sales have not reach platinum status, some of the bigger names in music - Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Little Big Town - have not let her talent go unnoticed. Now, McKenna's latest is an interesting concept with most of the material inspired by and written in motel rooms while on tour. McKenna says the lyrics aren't necessarily autobiographical, but stem from »»»
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: Lambert refuses to rest on laurels – Watching this stop on Miranda Lambert's "Livin' Like Hippies Tour," one is struck by just how many great songs the country singer/songwriter already has in her repertoire. With most artists, it's relatively easy to guess which song a performer will choose to close a show. But Lambert has so many winners to pick from, many... »»»
Concert Review: DBT rocks on – Drive-By Truckers still sometimes get miscategorized as alt.-country, but who's kidding whom? With three electric guitarists upfront exchanging hard rock licks all night, this is a blistering Southern rock band. Hitting the stage just before 10, the band played a satisfying 2-hour-plus set. At 11:40, Patterson Hood announced the band would be... »»»
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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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Staggered CD review - Staggered
East Nashville may be known as "the" Americana hotbed these days, but some of the talent there is very much verging on rock 'n roll. This is the case with Lynn Taylor & the BarFlies on their third release, a collection of personal tunes by the front man. »»»
American Folk soundtrack CD review - American Folk soundtrack
The soundtrack for the independent film, "American Folk," stars two real-life singer-songwriters played by Joe Purdy and Amber Rubarth, who also contribute the bulk of the material on the soundtrack. Understanding the plot of the film helps explain both the sequence and content of the track list. »»»
Rifles and Rosary Beads CD review - Rifles and Rosary Beads
Mary Gauthier has built her career on honest, sometimes brutally and achingly self-confessional songs. This is the first time that she has focused on experiences other than her own, and it could become not only the strongest album of her career but, in its own way, a landmark album. »»»
Work CD review - Work
Matt Hectorne's new album - his third solo effort - offers another example of the rewards that can come through the joy of discovery. While Hectorne makes no attempt to bend the boundaries as far as a patented Americana sound is concerned, the success he achieves here is the result of him doing quite the opposite, that is, sounding like a revered veteran who mastered the form quite quickly in his career.  »»»
Hallelujah Nights CD review - Hallelujah Nights
LANCO's "Greatest Love Story" is a radio single saturated in undeniable warmth and sweetness. But then, the attitude in "We Do" reeks of Florida Georgia Line and the chorus to "Singin' at The Stars" also brings country music's most annoying duo to mind. LANCO is a new act, and the jury's still on just which direction this five-piece will go. »»»