New Albums From Steve Azar, Isaac Freeman

In a slow week for new country releases, new albums are out from Steve Azar and from Isaac “Dickie” Freeman of the Fairfield Four.

Azar’s album is Waitin’ on Joe (Mercury Nashville). It includes his current single, “I Don’t Have to Be Me (’Til) Monday,” which sits at No. 11 on the current Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Azar, a native of Greenville, Miss., grew up listening to blues and was later influenced by fellow Mississippian Conway Twitty . Azar wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on the album.

Freeman takes a break from being bass singer in Nashville’s Fairfield Four, a capella gospel group, to record a solo album of spirituals. Beautiful Stars (Lost Highway) includes such songs as the title track and “When We Bow in the Evening at the Altar.” The song “You Must Come in at the Bottom” was written for Freeman by Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion. Freeman is accompanied on the album by Nashville’s famed Bluebloods.

The long-running Fairfield Four performed “Po’ Lazarus” on the Down From the Mountain CD, sang “Lonesome Valley” on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, appeared in the Down From the Mountain concert documentary film and have been on the current Down From The Mountain tour.