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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: Lowe gets on with tour – Nick Lowe made reference to the downer that's been a most unfortunate part of his Quality Holiday Revenue, not exactly the time of year when music, particularly of the holiday variety, should be sad. But veteran British keyboardist Ian McLagan, who was slated to open the tour, died of a stroke as the tour was opening two weeks ago.... »»»
Concert Review: Romano makes sad songs sound good – Daniel Romano perhaps couldn't help himself in commanding the stage. After all, he was only up on the small stage accompanied by his backing band, The Trilliums, consisting of a fellow acoustic guitarist and a pedal steel player. So, you knew this was not going to be an ear splitting gig unless the band was pounding it - and they did not.... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

The "Beauty" of Price continues Before Ray Price died - just over one year ago, on Dec. 16, 2013 - he told his wife, Janie, that she would have to carry on his legacy by going out, promoting the album that he had just recorded, "Beauty Is...," and visiting with his legions of fans. He told me, Janie says, "you're gonna be the closest thing to me that people are going to want to reach out to."... »»»
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The Music Of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 3 Volume 1 CD review - The Music Of Nashville: Original Soundtrack Season 3 Volume 1
As the winter finale of ABC's "Nashville" draws closer, the plot lines grow thinner and this scant 10-song soundtrack follows suit. Domestic turmoil is the major theme this season as diva Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) becomes unexpectedly pregnant before the filming of a Patsy Cline biopic. Unfortunately, Panettiere's excellent rendition of "Crazy" is omitted on the album. »»»
December Day (Willie's Stash Vol. 1) CD review - December Day (Willie's Stash Vol. 1)
A multi-tasker by nature - at age 81, Willie Nelson's constant output and frequent touring schedule puts any number of younger performers to shame - "December Day" offers another example of his ability to reinvent himself while shifting into the same melodic mode that made his original standards set "Stardust" so tempting and timeless. »»»
Chasing the Sun CD review - Chasing the Sun
You have to hand it to The Sweet Lowdown. They certainly know a thing or two about truth in advertising. On their lovely new album - their third to date - this Canadian trio live up to their collective handle by presenting a set of songs that's so sweet, so lovely and so enticing, it's akin to love at first listen. Making do with little more than their collective harmonies... »»»