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Nettles "Plays" with new label

Friday, May 13, 2016 – Jennifer Nettles is out today with her second solo release, "Playing With Fire." This marks her debut with Big Machine after releasing "That Girl" in 2014 on Mercury. Nettles wrote 7 of the dozen songs with Brandy Clark on the new set. Jennifer Lopez has a guest vocal turn on the closing track, "My House." The first single from the Dann Huff-produced release was "Unlove You."

Darrell Scott may be better known for his songs recorded by others ("You'll Never Harlan Alive" by Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless and "Long Time Gone" by the Dixie Chicks), but he's enjoyed a long career as an artist in his own right. "Couchville Sessions" has an unusual history in that the songs were first recorded in the springs of 2001 and 2002 with Danny Thompson, Kenny Malone and Dan Dugmore in Scott's living room. Fast forward to spring 2015 when Bill Payne sat in on keyboards and piano with a master overdubbing. Scott also covers James Taylor, Townes Van Zandt, Peter Rowan, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash on the set.

The 2013 debut from Hard Working Americans was apparently no fluke. The group of singer Todd Snider, bassist Dave Schools from Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood on guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks, younger brother to Derek, on drums, is out with "Rest in Chaos," a 13-song set.

Another installment from the "Nashville" TV show is out. "The Music of Nashville Original Soundtrack Season 4/Volume 2" drops today with 17 songs with Buddy Miller once again producing. Singers include Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack, Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton.

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CD reviews

To Celebrate Christmas CD review - To Celebrate Christmas
Christmas is a season that calls into view that old adage that "bigger is always better." Bigger trees, bigger light displays, and bigger presents are, if we're being totally honest, always welcome. When it comes to the music, it's very much the same. While the quiet, jazz-tinged standards of Crosby or Cole go well over a hot cup of cocoa, few things get our holiday juices flowing like a big, joyous Christmas favorite. And who better to deliver those songs from her big »»»
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," "It's A Great Day to Be Alive," "Hank »»»
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. Everything about the record screams fearlessness, whether it's in the sweet abandon of the music »»»
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: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
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Currently at the CST blogs

The Mavericks "Play the Hits" When recording its album "Play the Hits," The Mavericks approached this covers album in much the same way the band creates any of its other studio albums. "Above all, we're always trying to reach a certain musical bar that we... »»»
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Thinkin' Problem CD review - Thinkin' Problem
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Onward CD review - Onward
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Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring Johnny Cash CD review - Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring Johnny Cash
All these many years later, Bob Dylan 'bootleg' songs are still better than many intentional studio releases from other artists. Although some might have been shocked at the time to learn of Dylan's sojourn south to Nashville »»»
Play the Hits CD review - Play the Hits
When The Mavericks call an album "Play The Hits," It really should be qualified as "Play The Selective Hits" because this band has never been especially interested in performing only what's commercially viable.  »»»