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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: For Brooks and fans, a most unusual change of pace – To say that this was a change of pace for Garth Brooks - not to mention his fans - would be an understatement of the highest degree. Brooks all but begged during the show to be playing next door at Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots play. But, alas, Brooks exuded joy and excitement at the chance to play before about 500 people at a club,... »»»
Concert Review: LBT proves more than capable – If you have seen Little Big Town in the last decade, it could have been anywhere from a B stage at a Rib Fest to a 20,000-seat amphitheater as the opener for some of country's top acts. Their current "Nightfall" tour rightfully proves they are more than capable and well deserved being billed as a top headlining act.... »»»
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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... »»»
Larue moves "Onward" The release of "Onward," his eighth studio album, finds veteran Texas Music/Red Dirt artist Stoney Larue at a crossroads. After almost two decades on the road, playing 200 shows a year across America and abroad, he has had success... »»»
Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
Country Fuzz
It's not unusual for country artists to include a few party anthems on their albums. These tracks help lighten the mood among a record's heavier moments and make for fun concert numbers. The Cadillac Three »»»
LP5 CD review - LP5
John Moreland's plain, unpretentious title indicates more of the same, but those of you (most of you most likely) expecting another batch of great, but deeply sad songs may find a few surprises on "LP 5."  »»»
What I Came Here For CD review - What I Came Here For
James Steinle is an emerging Texas singer-songwriter, who is already being hailed by Ray Wylie Hubbard and compared to story telling greats like Robert Earl Keen. Given that Bruce Robison produced "What I Came Here For" speaks volumes »»»
Tornillo CD review - Tornillo
The band name may suggest Appalachia and in some respects their sound does, but Lil Smokies hail from Montana, and deliver "Tornillo," their third release, which is named for the town where the studio for this release, Sonic Ranch, is located. »»»
Nightfall CD review - Nightfall
Little Big Town gets billed as a country music vocal group, but "Nightfall" plays out more like a four-headed singer-songwriter effort. Many of these songs hearken back to some of the best '70s introspective songwriter efforts. »»»
Formations CD review - Formations
Hawktail features some of the finest players of a generation in traditional American acoustic music. The product of their collaboration, "Formations," is a testament to the musical milieu in which they create.  »»»