CMT News

Mark Wills, Corey Smith Lead New Independent Releases
Cody Canada & the Departed, the Greencards Also Offer New Music
Mark Wills
Mark Wills
Mark Wills, the country performer known for the No. 1 hits "19 Somethin'" and "Wish You Were Here," is just one of many independent artists releasing new music on Tuesday (June 21).

Wills' latest project, Looking for America, pays homage to the military in several songs. "Crazy Being Home" is the theme song for USA Cares' Warrior Treatment Today campaign which raises awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in soldiers returning from combat. Wills co-produced the album with Chris Lindsey, who also contributed to five of the eight new songs. Wills' other country hits include "Don't Laugh at Me," "Places I've Never Been, "I Do (Cherish You)" and "Back at One."

A favorite among the college crowd, singer-songwriter Corey Smith has released The Broken Record. The Jefferson, Ga., native is a former high school teacher who has sold nearly 900,000 digital singles and 150,000 albums as an independent artist. The new project is a mix of new songs and material from his catalog. The album's lead single is an updated version of "Twenty-One," a longtime staple of his live show.

Cody Canada & the Departed's debut album, This Is Indian Land, is a tribute to Oklahoma songwriters such as J.J. Cale, Randy Pease, Leon Russell and Kevin Welch. Canada is the front man for Cross Canadian Ragweed and formed the new band after Ragweed came off the road last year. The band will appear at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth on Friday (June 24).

In addition, the Greencards' The Brick Album, which draws on their acoustic and bluegrass influences, features guest appearances by Vince Gill and Sam Bush. Gill delivers a bluegrass-inspired rendition of the Moody Blues' "I Know You're Out There" on a new multi-artist project, Moody Bluegrass Two ... Much Love, while Bush appears on "Nice to Be Here."

Meanwhile, pop star Matt Nathanson gets a boost from Sugarland on "Run," a track from Modern Love. Known for "Come On Get Higher," Nathanson has opened numerous shows for the country duo. In another example of cross-genre connections, Jim Lauderdale's Reason and Rhyme is a bluegrass collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.

Other new releases include atmospheric singer-songwriter's Bon Iver's self-titled release, traditional country singer-songwriter David Adam Byrnes' Premium Country, HLN anchor Robin Meade's Brand New Day, soulful songwriter Gary Nicholson's Texas Songbook, country-folk songwriter Claudia Nygaard's Let the Storm Roll In, Americana indie group Wheeler Brothers' Portraits and alt-country quartet the Wilders' self-titled album.
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