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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: Aldean and friends stretch it out, way out – Jason Aldean's tour, "Six String Circus," gets its name from his recent single, "Lights Come On." And titling his tour after a guitar - and more appropriately an electric guitar - makes all the sense in the world. Each act on the bill, which also included A Thousand Horses and Thomas Rhett, use a lot of guitars - but mostly in... »»»
Concert Review: The Jayhawks remain in top form – It's usually a good time to catch a band right after they've released one of their better albums, and "Paging Mr. Proust" is one of The Jayhawks' best. Comprised of smart songs, which consistently put lead singer Gary Louris' engaging vibrato to proper use and instrumental textures that oftentimes stretch the Minnesota act... »»»
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Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Watkins does all the right things on "Young in All the Wrong Ways" In the nine years since Nickel Creek declared itself on indefinite hiatus, violinist/vocalist Sara Watkins has been relentlessly busy. She discovered a new pathway for her harmonic gifts with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan in the vocal trio I'm With Her.... »»»
Lonely Heartstring Band navigates "Deep Waters" Four years after forming in Boston and a year after receiving their first major award (an IBMA Momentum nod), when most bands might be expected to have two or three already in circulation, the Lonely Heartstring Band finally has its first full-length CD release "Deep Waters" (Rounder) out on the street.... »»»
Bush tells the story Sam Bush is back with a new record, "Storyman," not that he ever went anywhere. Identified with The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which he has played in one form or another for each year but one, he helped define the new grass sound.... »»»
Magic Fire CD review - Magic Fire
The difference between current successful Americana road veterans like Mandolin Orange and Mipso, on the one hand, and lamented, late bands like Joy Kills Sorrow and The Deadly Gentlemen, on the other, is razor-thin. "Magic Fire" amply supports The Stray Birds' bid to be an act in for the long haul. "Magic Fire" is a sharp-tongued lyrical success with harmonies and clever arrangements in abundance »»»
Kinda Don't Care CD review - Kinda Don't Care
The title track on Justin Moore's "Kinda Don't Care" album is so good it almost makes you wish the rest of the tracks were this fine. But they're not. Nevertheless, the song's Waylon Jennings thump-thump groove, its steel guitar-electric guitar interplay and lyric about how a broken heart can tempt even a good man to give into available vices - all on account of induced apathy - transforms it into one memorable country song. »»»
Bury Me In My Boots CD review - Bury Me In My Boots
The Cadillac Three may not be much more country than Florida Georgia Line, who help the group out on the track "The South," but they are certainly a better Southern rock band than that hack act. This group incorporates some blues influence from The Black Crowes, mixed in some of The Georgia Satellites' winking sense of humor, to create the enjoyable Southern summer party that is "Bury Me in My Boots." »»»
Coming Home CD review - Coming Home
Mark O'Connor has covered a lot of ground in his musical career; starting as a prodigy on the fiddle, with such disparate mentors as Benny Thomassen and Stephane Grappelli. Back in the '90s, he had a six-year run as CMA's Musician of the Year. In addition to his fiddle prowess, he's won national titles playing flat picking guitar and mandolin. »»»