Raul Malo, once of The Mavericks , this week releases Today (Higher Octave), his first solo album. His former group, Malo says, is on “permanent hiatus.” The new set finds him giving sway to his Cuban-American heritage and his Miami upbringing. Four songs are in Spanish, and Shelby Lynne joins him on “It Takes Two to Tango.” Steve Berlin of Los Lobos produced with Malo.
Reba McEntire and Lyle Lovett each deliver hits collections with new songs added. McEntire’s Greatest Hits Volume III: I’m a Survivor (MCA Nashville) includes “I’m a Survivor,” the theme from her WB sitcom and a current Top 10 country hit, and a new cover of Kenny Rogers ’ “Sweet Music Man” produced by Alison Krauss .
Actor and songwriter Lovett’s Anthology Vol. 1 Cowboy Man (Curb/MCA) takes 13 of its 15 tracks from his first three albums, released in the late ‘80s. The other two tracks -– “The Truck Song” and “San Antonio Girl” -– were recorded this summer.
Rogers’ 60th career album, Live by Request (Dreamcatcher), is his first live set. In September 2000, Rogers did an A&E cable special, Live by Request, telecast live from New York City. His performances of 17 hits are being offered on CD, VHS and DVD.
Tracy Lawrence is back with a self-titled set, his ninth on Atlantic Records and his first since Atlantic’s Nashville division was folded into Warner Bros. “Life Don’t Have to Be So Hard” is the first single. With a wife and new daughter, Lawrence says the song reflects “where I am in my life.”
Banjo ace Tom Adams, known for his work with Jimmy Martin, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Lynn Morris , Blue Highway and his current employer, Rhonda Vincent , issues a solo work, Adams County Banjo (Rounder). Morris, Sam Bush and Krauss make appearances on the set.
Roots specialty label Arhoolie releases Texas Law and Justice by Bill Neely. Influenced by Jimmie Rodgers , from whom he learned to make a C chord on the guitar, Neely was a fixture on the Austin music scene in the ‘60s, singing with Janis Joplin, Tracy Nelson and Mance Lipscomb. Of the 20 tracks, nine are previously unreleased.