Country Hitmakers Hal Ketchum and Jeff Carson Return

Wayne “The Train” Hancock Issues New Bloodshot CD

Hal Ketchum ’s first album of new material in over two years leads this week’s new album releases. Jeff Carson returns after a lengthy absence and country honky-tonker Wayne Hancock makes his Bloodshot Records debut.

Ketchum, whose last album was 1999’s well-received Awaiting Redemption, releases Lucky Man on Curb, with 12 new songs. “Don’t Let Go” is the first single released to radio. Ketchum sings a duet with Dolly Parton on “Two of the Lucky Ones” and another with Lisa Brokop on “Keep Mom and Dad in Love.” Rodney Crowell produced the project. Ketchum first drew wide attention with his second album, 1991’s Past the Point of Rescue (his major-label debut, on Curb). The title song and “Small Town Saturday Night” both reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Carson’s last CD was 1997’s Butterfly Kisses and, before that, his 1995 self-titled debut album, which yielded the No. 1 and No. 2 Billboard hits “Not on Your Love” and “The Car.” His new CD, Real Life, on Curb, was produced by Justin Niebank and songwriter Max T. Barnes, who contributes the song “What’s Not to Love.” Carson co-wrote two of the cuts, “Scars and All” (which was the first single) and “Until We Fall Back in Love Again.” The album’s title song, “Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again),” is the current single release and was at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart dated Sept. 8.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been attracting devotees with his full-bore honky-tonk sound since his first album, 1995’s Thunderstorms and Neon Signs. Now Hancock releases A-Town Blues on Bloodshot Records. Lloyd Maines produced the CD, whose 12 cuts include the title cut, “Railroad Blues,” “Cow Cow Boogie” and “Miller, Jack & Mad Dog.”