Journeyman singer Joe Diffie's ninth album and yet another O Brother, Where Art Thou? offshoot lead new country releases this week.
Diffie's In Another World (Monument) continues the singer's
blend of ballads and nonsensical songs. The title song is a prime example of the former, while the latter is well illustrated
by the wacky "My Give a Damn's Busted." The title song is No. 29 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart
for Nov. 3.
The multi-platinum O Brother soundtrack has already yielded the successful spinoff Down From
the Mountain and now a principal character from both of those albums is on yet another venture. Alison Krauss is prominent
on O Sister! The Women's Bluegrass Collection (Rounder). Also appearing from both O Brother and Mountain
are the Cox Family. Other singers taking part include IBMA bluegrass entertainer of
the year Rhonda Vincent, Laurie Lewis, country
veteran Wilma Cooper and folk music giants Hazel Dickens
and Alice Gerrard.
Country music legend Kitty Wells recorded a landmark album
in 1974, when Nashville regarded her as pretty much a faded flower from country's past. Her Forever Young project showed
Wells as eminently capable of blending country's past with what at the time seemed its future: a country/rock fusion very
much in step with what was happening on country's fringes. With Southern rock producer Johnny Sandlin at the helm and with
a stellar bunch of musicians from the Allman Brothers Band, Sea Level and the Marshall Tucker
Band, Wells gamely tackled songs ranging from Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" to Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too
Long." The very listenable album is now available on CD from Nashville's Junction Records.
That label also releases
the debut album from singer-songwriter Randy Kohrs, who has toured as guitarist with the John Cowan Band. His CD A Crack
in My Armour features his own compositions as well as songs by such writers as Jim Lauderdale
and Judy Rodman.
Popular western singer Joni Harms, who was named western female
vocalist of the year in July by the Academy of Western Artists, has a new album titled After All (Paras Group International).
She ranges from the tale of a waitress with the song "Millie" to the ranchero-flavored "Ay Yi Yi Yi" to the traditional "West
Tony Rice, Larry Rice, Herb Pedersen and Chris Hillman sprang from the Southern California country/rock/bluegrass
era of the '60s and played with groups ranging from the Byrds to Country Gazette to the Dillards and the Desert Rose Band.
As Rice, Rice, Hillman & Pedersen, they have amassed a faithful following. Their new Running Wild CD (Rounder) runs
through material as varied as the Beatles' "Things We Said Today," Buck Owens' "Take
Me Back Again" and Larry Rice's "The Mystery That Won't Go Away (The Jon Benet-Patricia Ramsey Song)."
Texas song belter
Don Walser is represented by the retrospective package Dare to Dream: The Best of
Don Walser (Texas Music Group/Lone Star Records). Songs include "Danny Boy," "Shotgun Boogie" and "The John Deere Tractor
Fifty of cowboy legend Gene Autry's songs are collected in two re-issues:
Goin' Back to Texas: 25 Texas Classics and The Western Collection: 25 Cowboy Classics (Varese Vintage).