A few longtime favorites return to the record stores in the coming months while George Strait and the Dixie Chicks offer new concert DVDs. Follow-ups from Chris Cagle , Deana Carter and Blake Shelton are also expected by mid-March.
Seven songs have been added to the NBC special An Evening With the Dixie Chicks which will be released on DVD on Feb. 4. All 12 songs from Home are included, as well as “Wide Open Spaces,” “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Goodbye Earl” and “Sin Wagon.” The Texas trio filmed the concert at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.
Strait filmed his concert DVD on the final night of the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show in 2002 to an audience 68,266 people, including former President and Mrs. George Bush. The 16-song collection, titled For the Last Time — Live from the Astrodome, includes tunes both old (“Amarillo by Morning”) and new (“She’ll Leave You With a Smile”). The DVD will hit stores on March 4, but the concert CD arrives on Feb. 11.
Alabama begins closing out its 25-year career with In the Mood: The Love Songs. The 2-CD set includes hits like “When We Make Love,” “Feels So Right,” “Lady Down on Love” and “There’s No Way.” A remake of the Mike + the Mechanics hit, “The Living Years,” is among the 23 tracks. The band embarks on its farewell tour this spring as well.
Vince Gill marks his return with Next Big Thing, due Feb. 11. The 17-song collection takes its title from Gill’s latest single. The most awarded musician in CMA history, Gill is taking his show on the road, playing smaller venues in major U.S. cities; he recently finished a sold-out, five-night stand at Nashville’s Exit/In. (Click here for a review.)
Also on Feb. 11, a bunch of country’s good ole boys salute the bearded one with The Songs of Hank Williams Jr. (A Bocephus Celebration). Guests include Blake Shelton, Darryl Worley , Montgomery Gentry , Tracy Lawrence , Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aaron Tippin , Trace Adkins and Andy Griggs . Alan Jackson reprises his hit “Blues Man” while Hank Jr. and his friends close the album with “Outlaw’s Reward.”
With “The Baby” already a breakout hit, Shelton returns to the racks with The Dreamer on Feb. 4. Another young honky-tonker, Chris Cagle, will have a beautiful day when his new album arrives on March 11. Signed to a new label, Deana Carter (“Strawberry Wine”) is poised for a comeback with I’m Just a Girl on March 18. The first single, “There’s No Limit,” is gaining momentum at radio. No word on whether she’ll put clothes over her underwear in future videos.
Steve Wariner launches his new label with Steal Another Day on Feb. 4. Early recordings from Willie Nelson are unearthed for Crazy: The Demo Sessions on Feb. 11. The debut album from Jennifer Hanson (“Beautiful Goodbye”) appears on Feb. 18. A bluegrass solo album from former Shenandoah lead vocalist Marty Raybon, Full Circle, lands on March 11. Rosanne Cash arrives with an album of all-new material, titled Rules of Travel, on March 25. Jessica Andrews , the Jayhawks , Allison Moorer , Lisa Marie Presley and Charlie Robison will all release new albums before summer as well.