A reissued update of Steve Earle ’s epochal first album, rarities from alt-country founders Jason and the Scorchers , the return of Deryl Dodd , and a gospel album from the Charlie Daniels Band lead this week’s new country album releases.
Earle released his debut album, Guitar Town, in 1986 to a mostly lukewarm country response. But, buoyed by increasing acceptance by rock critics and the rock audience, the album went on to receive two Grammy nominations, become one of the most acclaimed works of the era and influence countless young alt-country artists and musicians.
Now it’s being reissued as Guitar Town (Expanded Edition) (MCA Nashville) in a remastered edition, with new liner notes by Earle. It also includes an added track, Earle’s live version of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” recorded on Earle’s 1986 “Guitar Town” tour. To commemorate the release, Earle and the original musicians from the album will re-create Guitar Town onstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Feb. 6.
Hank Williams III ’s second album is Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ (Curb). With songs such as “Whiskey, Weed & Trashville,” the title track, and “5 Shots of Whiskey,” Williams continues his version of the Williams tradition.
Dodd has recovered from a severe bout with encephalitis and releases his new Pearl Snaps (Lucky Dog). The Texas native and Baylor University graduate started his rise as Martina McBride ’s guitar player and recorded a well-received debut album, One Ride in Vegas, in 1996. Personal doubts dogged him and he withdrew from the limelight. Dodd returned with a self-titled second album in 1998, then began suffering from constant fatigue that finally revealed itself as encephalitis in 1999. His new album includes several Dodd-penned works, Jamie Hartford’s “Good Things Happen,” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown.”
Alt-country pioneers Jason and the Scorchers provide previously unreleased slices of their 21 years of musical history with Wildfires & Misfires (Yep Roc). This collection of demos and live recordings includes rarities such as their demo recording of Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” which got them their record deal with EMI America. The 19 cuts also include “Polk Salad Annie,” “Lost Highway,” “Gospel Plow,” and “Long Black Veil.” Rock guitar legend Link Wray appears on “Tear It Up,” recorded live at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival in 1985.
The Charlie Danels Band’s new How Sweet the Sound (Sparrow) is a two-disc set of gospel standards such as “How Sweet the Sound,” “In the Garden,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”
Knoxville, Tenn., native Paul Brewster spent years as a sideman with the Osborne Brothers and is now guitarist for Ricky Skaggs ’ Kentucky Thunder. Now, Brewster presents his solo debut with Everybody’s Talkin’ (Ceili Music). It includes original Brewster compositions as well as traditional bluegrass works such as Bill Monroe ’s “Kentucky Waltz.” Dolly Parton , Lee Ann Womack and Skaggs provide backing harmonies.
This week’s crop of releases also includes reissues representing work by Patsy Cline , Flatt & Scruggs , and Lee Greenwood . Love Songs (Varese Sarabande) includes 16 of Cline’s love songs, such as “Hungry for Love” and “I Can’t Forget.” 16 Biggest Hits (Sony Legacy) presents such Flatt & Scruggs hits as “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Lee Greenwood: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection includes Greenwood’s signature song, “God Bless the U.S.A,” and a duet with Barbara Mandrell on “To Me.”