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Allan, Houser top new discs

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 – Gary Allan and Randy Houser lead the list for releases out today.

Allan returns with "Set You Free," which includes the hit single Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain). Allan helped write 5 of the 12 songs, including the hit single. The disc is Allan's first since 2010's "Get Off the Pain."

Randy Houser is riding the charts with How Country Feels, the title track of his disc out today. Houser returns with his first disc since 2010's "They Call Me Cadillac." Houser previously enjoyed hits with Anything Goes and Boots On.

Carrie Rodriguez, who had discs out with songwriter Chip Taylor, is out with her fifth release, "Give Me All You Got." The Brooklyn resident by way of Texas, offers 11 songs on her latest, which was produced by Lee Townsend.

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CD reviews

Fired Up CD review - Fired Up
A brand of neo-traditional country music has entered the mainstream scene in response to the hip hop beats of bro country and smooth EDM of metro country. Artists like Aaron Watson and Randy Houser are providing a strong alternative on the charts for fans who prefer their country closer to its roots. The challenge for a country artist today is to find a balance between the fans and their business. A small handful of writers are responsible for most of the mainstream chart toppers, resulting in a »»»
How Country Feels CD review - How Country Feels
Despite a good track record of releasing quality music, Randy Houser hasn't become a consistent chart-topper yet. His new album, "How Country Feels," has already brought him one hit song with the title track, so perhaps a change of scenery (Houser is now on Stoney Creek) was what his career needed. Houser's last album, "They Call Me Cadillac," was a bluesy, varied album that unfortunately yielded no hits. This time around, he's gone for a much simpler »»»
Set You Free CD review - Set You Free
Gary Allan sets it straight where his musical universe is at when he starts the disc with the words "That was a tough good bye" in Tough Goodbye. You know this is not going to be an easy, joyful ride throughout these dozen songs mainly constricted to heartache and hurting, just as Allan's past would indicate. A look at the song titles - It Ain't the Whiskey, You Without Me, Hungover Heart - makes that abundantly clear. The number one hit Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain) is a »»»
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: On day 3, MerleFest opts for tradition – The biggest day of the MerleFest weekend is always Saturday. There was still plenty of "Plus" to go around, but the highlights of this year's big day focused on the more traditional side of the festival's "Traditional Plus" lineup from headliners Dave Rawlings Machine down to the regional acts on the smaller stages.... »»»
Concert Review: MerleFest showcases diversity on day two – Although primarily thought of as a "roots music" festival, the artists at MerleFest can and do come from a variety of genres and locales. On the first full day of this year's festival, that point was underscored with performances from not just bluegrass and string bands, but also rock 'n' roll, soul and international acts... »»»
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Currently at the CST blogs

Reams leaps into "Rhyme & Season" James Reams is one of bluegrass music's unconventional stalwarts. A son of Kentucky, Reams' journey has taken any number of unusual pathways since the mid-seventies. Producing albums for more than 20 years, Reams' ninth release of personable bluegrass, "Rhyme and Season," is a relaunch for Reams, an artist who has never followed a singular route. ... »»»
Solivan  turns to family, friends, heroes After scoring a 2015 IBMA nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for "Cold Spell," Frank Solivan tried something a little different this time around - an album of songs recorded by "Family, Friends and Heroes" (Compass). In an earlier musical life, Solivan served as stalwart in Country Current, the Navy's touring bluegrass band. Solivan left the service and formed Dirty Kitchen, a hat-tip to his background and continuing efforts as a chef.... »»»
Sellers garages her country Aubrie Sellers just may be onto something on her debut - garage country. After all, we've already witnessed traditional country, new country, neo-traditional, country rock, pop country and bro country. Sellers, a 25-year-old Nashvillian with a big time musical pedigree who released her debut, "New City Blues," in January, said the moniker came to mind as her bio was being written.... »»»
Del and Woody CD review - Del and Woody
For two years we've been hearing of this recording, a project where original lyrics from Woody Guthrie were to be reinvented as bluegrass songs by the legendary Del McCoury. Like previous sets from Billy Bragg & Wilco (3 volumes of "Mermaid Avenue" released between 1998-2012), Jay Farrar, et al ("New Multitudes," 2012) and The Klezmatics (a pair of 2006 releases), lyrics stored within the Woody Guthrie Archives were turned over to McCoury to be repurposed. »»»
Empty Glasses CD review - Empty Glasses
Coming on the heels of her last album, the tellingly titled "Quicksand," Reagan Boggs' latest continues to affirm her reputation as a master of emotion, a performer whose sound and delivery leave no sentiment unturned. Consequently, "Empty Glasses" becomes an equally expressive handle, given that much of the album bears a deliberately downcast disposition. That can also be discerned by reading the names of certain songs -- "Honey I'm Lost"...  »»»