Aaron Tippin, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Radney Foster head the list of new albums arriving in stores this week. Along the way, Porter Wagoner gets back to basics, and Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time release their first CD since creating a stir with "Murder on Music Row." And a new compilation signals the return of one of country's most distinctive female vocalists -- Jeannie Kendall.
The official bio from Lyric Street
Records opens with the sentence, "It's no coincidence that Tippin's latest CD, Stars & Stripes, arrives in record stores
one year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks." Give the label credit for being so candid about its marketing plan. In Tippin's
defense, he wrote the song "Where the Stars & Stripes and the Eagle Fly" two years before 9/11, donated proceeds from the
single's sales to the American Red Cross and heads to Afghanistan in November for a USO tour. Much of the other material on
Stars & Stripes centers around family themes. Tippin co-wrote five of the album's 11 songs, choosing the rest from several
of country's top songwriters, including Dennis Linde, Bob DiPiero, Jeffrey Steele, Mark D. Sanders, Tim Womack and John Rich.
grew up with gospel and bluegrass music in rural Kentucky, although she also gained inspiration from listening to Celine Dion
and other power vocalists. All of those influences come together on her second MCA album, Forgive. The title track (and current
single) showcases Howard's strength as a songwriter and vocalist. Other highlights include "It Didn't Look Like Alcohol" (written
by Howard and producer Trey Bruce) and "Jesus and Bartenders" (a terrific hardcore country song written by Cordle and Leslie
Having his songs recorded by the likes of the Dixie Chicks and Hootie
& the Blowfish has perhaps provided Foster greater latitude as a recording artist. On his new Dualtone album, Another Way
to Go, Foster continues to find himself straddling country and rock without worrying which way the music takes him. He
also shows continued growth as a songwriter, managing to create uncontrived music while tackling emotional topics such as
the current single, "Everyday Angel." Of special note is Foster's collaboration with Chely
Wright on "Scary Old World," a song Foster co-wrote with the late Harlan Howard.
you might expect, Wagoner's Unplugged finds the new Country Music Hall of Fame inductee in a sparse, mostly acoustic
musical setting. The Shell Point Records release features background vocals by Don Warden, a member of Wagoner's band throughout
the '50s and '60s, and guest appearances by Willie Nelson and his harmonica player,
Mickey Raphael. Nelson and Wagoner perform duets on "Silver Eagle Meets the Great Speckled Bird" and Nelson's "Family Bible."
Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time recorded his original "Murder on Music Row" long before it was named the Country Music Association's
2001 song of the year. On Songs From the Workbench (Shell Point), Cordle isn't dwelling on his past accomplishments.
Calling the band "a bluegrass band with a rock 'n' roll attitude," he offers some original songs while covering other tunes
first recorded by artists as diverse as Lucinda Williams, banjo pioneer Dock Boggs
and the southern rock band, Blackfoot.
Kendall contributed "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" for the new Rounder Records
compilation, O Sister 2: A Women's Bluegrass Collection. The collection arrives the same week Varese Sarabande is releasing
the Kendalls' 12 Hits. With Royce Kendall, the father-daughter duo of the Kendalls scored major hits in the '70s and early
'80s, including "Sweet Desire," "The Pittsburgh Stealers" and the undeniable classic, "Heaven's Just a Sin Away." Keeping
a low profile since her father's death in 1998, her Rounder solo album -- Timeless -- will be released in early 2003.
The 21-track O Sister 2 compilation also features performances by Rhonda Vincent, Wilma Lee Cooper, Claire Lynch, Laurie Lewis and a collaboration between Alison Krauss and Suzanne
Another all-female cast was assembled for Going Driftless: An Artists' Tribute to Greg Brown. The Red House
Records release features an impressive cast, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn
Colvin, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Iris Dement and Victoria Williams. The collection of Brown's songs raises money for
the Breast Cancer Fund of San Francisco.
Bluegrass legend Peter Rowan has never been afraid to consider new musical
directions, having done that very thing before with Bill Monroe, David Grisman and
Jerry Garcia. This time, Rowan and cowboy singer Don Edwards team for High Lonesome Cowboy (Shanachie), which considers
the common roots of bluegrass and western music. Joining them are two of the world's finest acoustic guitarists -- Tony Rice
and Norman Blake.
In the world of reissues, RCA is offering several new titles in its Country Legends series.
The latest round covers a wide timeline, ranging from Jimmie Rodgers' pioneering recordings from the '20s and early '30s to
Sylvia's pop-tinged hits from the '80s. In between are collections from John Anderson
(his hits for BNA Records), Nelson (from his RCA years) and K.T. Oslin.
20th Century Masters series features new collections from Dave Dudley ("Six Days on the Road") and Jerry Jeff Walker.
The latest George Jones title in the series -- The '90s, Volume 2 -- features his MCA recordings from the '90s. It's
packed with collaborations, including "One" (with Tammy Wynette), "Love Bug" (with
Vince Gill) and the all-star "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair."
Choice label releases two especially interesting compilations this week. Sonny James is best known for "Young Love" and a
string of Capitol hits in the '60s. However, The Complete Columbia & Monument Hits includes some great music, including
his versions of "Back in the Saddle Again," "In the Jailhouse Now," "Abilene" and Jack Scott's "What in the World's Come Over
You." James' smooth vocal style always overshadowed his top-notch guitar playing, but he shines here with the instrumental,
"Eres Tu (Touch the Wind)."
Before Garth Brooks recorded rock songs as Chris
Gaines, Ferlin Husky was recording comedy songs in the '50s as Simon Crum. Collector's
Choice compiles those recordings on Country Music Is Here to Stay: The Complete Simon Crum aka Ferlin Husky on Capitol.
Highlights include "I Feel Better All Over (More Than Anywhere's Else)." And to prove that some things never change in the
music business, it's worth noting another song title -- "Simon Crum Needs a Hit."
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