New Releases: Scotty McCreery to Hank Williams

Merle Haggard, Rodney Atkins Offer New Music

Country fans can choose from a broad selection of new country albums released Tuesday (Oct. 4) with a list that includes Scotty McCreery, Rodney Atkins, Merle Haggard and the lyrics of Hank Williams Sr.

McCreery’s Clear as Day is the first album by the American Idol star. Tracks include “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls.” McCreery is making numerous TV appearances this week, including Live With Regis and Kelly on Tuesday, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Wednesday and The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday. McCreery will personally celebrate the album’s release with a performance and interview session on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C., at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek.

Atkins’ Take a Back Road is named for his latest No. 1 hit. Atkins co-wrote three of the 12 new tracks, while “Farmer’s Daughter” is added as a bonus track. His upcoming tour dates with Darius Rucker include Thursday (Oct. 6) in Glen Falls, N.Y., and Friday in Indiana, Pa.

Haggard’s new album, Working in Tennessee, is a blend of fresh material and classic favorites. Along with his new songs, Haggard recorded an updated version of “Working Man Blues” with his son, Ben, and Willie Nelson. Haggard wrote one of the new songs with his daughter, Jenessa, and three others with his wife, Theresa. The album concludes with a rendition of “Jackson,” the classic Johnny Cash-June Carter Cash duet, sung with Theresa. Haggard recorded the project in his home studio in California with producer Lou Bradley.

The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, featuring an array of roots artists, draws its inspiration from previously-unheard lyrics contained in Hank Williams’ notebooks. Artists who have set Williams’ lyrics to music on the album include Bob Dylan (whose label imprint is co-releasing the album), Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Norah Jones, Patty Loveless, Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Levon Helm, Holly Williams and Jakob Dylan.

Meanwhile, Jason Boland & the StragglersRancho Alto stems from a love of traditional country music which has brought them a sizable fan base in Texas. New York City folk singer Annie Crane’s Jump With a Child’s Heart combines ’60s folk, traditional Celtic music and Americana. Robby Hecht’s Last of the Long Days is a mellow and beautiful effort from the Nashville-based singer-songwriter. And longtime duo Indigo Girls recorded their latest project, Beauty Queen Sister, in Nashville with producer Peter Collins, one of their collaborators in the early 1990s.