A collection of singer-songwriter John Prine's earliest, unreleased recordings tops the list of new albums released Tuesday (Oct. 25) by independent record labels. The title of Prine's The Singing Mailman Delivers (Oh Boy Records) refers to his previous day job as a postman. "I still maintain that Chicago winters and postman-hungry dogs finally drove me to songwriting," he says. The two-CD set features recordings from 1970, including performances at a Chicago radio studio and a nightclub. The material includes classics such as "Hello in There," "Paradise" and "Illegal Smile" that were first released on his 1971 debut album. ... Steve Martin, Chris Thile, Jerry Douglas and Tim O'Brien make guest appearances on Punch Brothers banjo ace Noam Pikelny's Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail (Compass). Bela Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, Paul Shaffer and Byron Berline are among the guests on mandolinist-clarinetist Andy Statman's Old Brooklyn (Shefa). Other new releases include bluegrass favorites Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out's Prime Tyme (Rural Rhythm), the Carter Brothers' The Road to Roosky (Compass) and singer-songwriter Ryan Horne's The Whistler & the Majestic (Ryan Home Music).
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