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McGraw, Williams, SteelDrivers out with new music

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 – Tim McGraw releases his first album for Big Machine, "Two Lanes of Freedom," after spending his entire career on Curb. McGraw and Curb were embroiled in a nasty lawsuit, but McGraw won the right to record for another label.

The SteelDrivers are out with its third disc, "Hammer Down." Gary Nichols is on lead vocals with the band including banjo player Richard Bailey, bass/vocalist Mike Fleming, fiddler/vocalist Tammy Rogers and mandolinist Brent Truitt. Produced by Luke Wooton, "Hammer Down" is a collection of 10 new tunes from original members Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson, as well as Rogers and Nichols.

Holly Williams is recording for a new label for "The Highway," Georgiana. The disc includes 11 songs and features guest artists like Gwenyth Paltrow, Jacob Dylan and Jackson Browne.

The late Townes Van Zandt's "Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions & Demos 1971-1972" (Omnivore) includes rare recordings from the singer-songwriter's career.

More news for Tim McGraw

CD reviews for Tim McGraw

Damn Country Music CD review - Damn Country Music
Tim McGraw said of his 14th studio album, "Damn Country Music," "It's is all about passion, (taking him back to 1989) "when I came to Nashville to chase my dreams." Country music has richly rewarded him over the past two decades, and he honors the genre's tradition here. The album gets off to a very traditional start with Celtic folk. The flute and skillful acoustic picking on the opener "Here Tonight" bring a Mark Knopfler tune immediately to mind. »»»
Sundown Heaven Town CD review - Sundown Heaven Town
The banjo comes first out of the speakers, the opening strains of "Overrated," the lead-off song on Tim McGraw's latest. But with a "1-2-3-4" count, the mood changes and goes for a more modern country approach. McGraw does about the same on the follow-up "City Lights" with Michael Landau's steely, but rocking lead guitar taking over near the conclusion as it does later hard on "Sick of Me" where the protagonist contemplates a need to turn his life around. »»»
Two Lanes of Freedom CD review - Two Lanes of Freedom
Tim McGraw's debut on Big Machine, "Two Lanes Of Freedom" is his first record since the announcement that he gave up alcohol five years ago and the first since his acrimonious, litigious split from the only label he had ever known, Curb. The new CD literally and symbolically represents a fresh start. If only the material better reflected his new take on life. What is presented here is about as boiler plate as contemporary country gets. The album is a safe play and takes almost no chances. »»»
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: Hard Working Americans more than live up to moniker – Hard Working Americans is a generic enough sounding term, conveying that you're part of the lunch bucket crowd. Part of a faceless pack instead of an individual. In reality, it's something of a misnomer for the sextet of the same name heretofore considered a side project. That's because they or in most cases, their other... »»»
Concert Review: Wolf rolls on with ease – Peter Wolf starts off his first disc in six years, "A Cure for Loneliness," with "Rolling On." Great title for a song, and as he would prove in concert, he lived up to those words. The song starts "You can lay down and die / You can lay up and count the tears you've cried / But baby, that's not me / There's a... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

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.... »»»
If I'm Honest CD review - If I'm Honest
Blake Shelton makes it abundantly clear that this is not going to be a light-hearted listen, despite his public demeanor. "I have never recorded a more personal or reflective album in my career," Shelton wrote on the cover insert. He said the 15-song release "touches both the highs and low of past year of my life."  »»»
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"), Scott has been making outstanding Americana albums... »»»
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.  »»»