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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

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. »»»
Emotional Traffic CD review - Emotional Traffic
Tim McGraw is the ultimate country music Zelig. Match him with a great lyric, and he's like the voice of a prophet. But put him with fluff, and he's no better than a news reader anchorman on a slow news day. McGraw is at his best on Better Than I Used To Be, a song as spiritual as you want it to be. It could easily be applied to the New Testament exhortation to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." It can also be taken as a self-help summation. »»»
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: No surprise about Maddie & Tae – Maddie Marlow, one-half of the duo Maddie & Tae, seemed rather amazed to be in her predicament. With a few worthy hits under their belts ("Girl in a Country Song" and "Fly") and but one album, Maddie & Tae are just at the outset of their first ever solo headlining tour. In fact, this was the second night, having started in New York.... »»»
Concert Review: Corb Lund finally returns – To say that a Corb Lund show was a rarity in these parts would be an understatement, but with a new disc, "Things That Can't Be Undone," dropping in two days, the Canadian roots/country artist is on the road - south of the border. Lund lives on a farm in southern Alberta, Canada, near the Montana border, and has achieved popularity in his homeland.... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

No matter what you say, it's The Deslondes In the spirit of hard-hitting journalism, it seemed logical to ask Deslondes vocalist/guitarist Riley Downing the Mike-Wallace-from-60-Minutes question that has to be on everyone's mind: How the hell do you say the New Orleans-based band's name? "It's pronounced 'dez lawn,'" says Downing. "I know there's different ways that people have pronounced it over the course of history...... »»»
Watkins Family make time From their first, self-titled, major label release, the Allison Krauss-produced, "Nickel Creek," two-thirds of that trio - musical siblings Sara and Sean Watkins - have been in the musical spotlight continually since 1999. As for working with her brother off and on for most of their lives, Sara says, "We have been lucky...... »»»
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Things That Can't Be Undone CD review - Things That Can't Be Undone
While it is perhaps unfair to put too much focus on the producer of an album, the current weight of having a production credit from Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson) is certain to garner notice from fans of high quality songwriters. Canadian artist Corb Lund decided to work with Cobb on his latest release, and the results are eye opening. »»»
Runaway Train CD review - Runaway Train
To those with even only a passing familiarity with the history of bluegrass, the name of this young band from Florida is an obvious tribute to the pioneers of the music as exemplified in the person of the late, great Lester Flatt. Perhaps more than any other genre of American music, though, bluegrass has lent itself to acts for whom the music is the "family business." »»»
South Broadway Athletic Club CD review - South Broadway Athletic Club
It's been over two decades since The Bottle Rockets vaulted into the wider consciousness with 1994's "The Brooklyn Side," typified by the heartbreaking Appalachian roots folk swing of "Welfare Music" and the scorching Crazy Horse pop of "Gravity Fails." Since then, frontman/primary songwriter Brian Henneman hasn't been afraid to mix things up or to take a break when necessary. »»»
Lost Time CD review - Lost Time
As a follow up to their Grammy nominated reunion set, "Lost Time" treads the same turf, spotlighting the Alvin brothers' take on some familiar - and a few not so familiar - blues standards of a revered heritage. While the blues comes in many hues, it's not always easy to replicate them with the same tone and tenacity that the signature artists conveyed.  »»»