There isn’t any new mainstream country albums out this week so we take a walk on the Americana side of life for this week’s newest releases. Among the new releases though, is Trace Adkins’ fine Live Country DVD which features some new material, Caitlin Canty’s Reckless Skyline, and The Bros. Landreth’s Let It Lie, an album which is definitely our pick of the week.
Trace Adkins - Live Country DVD (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
This well-made concert DVD features 20 songs, including nearly every big hit from his career including “Big Time,” “Songs About Me,” and “Hot Mama.” It also features some deeper songs and a few album cuts like “I Left Something Turned On At Home,” “Ride” and “Marry For Money” along with his very first single “There’s A Girl In Texas.” The concert also features some new tracks like “Maintenenance Man,” “It All Adds Up To Us” and “Heartbreak Song,” an anti-bro Country song if there ever was one. Adkins showcases a fun concert vibe and is in fine voice throughout the concert. There’s a bonus interview that gives some fun insight to the new material and Adkins overall outlook on life and his career. Even if you’re just a cursory fan of Trace Adkins, you’ll find something to enjoy here.
Caitlin Canty - Reckless Skyline (Silver Giblet)
Produced by Americana stalwart Jeffrey Foucault, Reckless Skyline is a very solid collection. The record feels like the kind of record any fan of Alison Moorer, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams and Bonnie Raitt would also enjoy. “One Man” is a strong track that wouldn’t feel outta place on any of those women’s records. “Get Up” rocks, “My Love For You Will Not Fade” feels like a long lost Julie Miller track and I can see it eventually be recorded by someone like Miranda Lambert or even Trisha Yearwood. It’s that good of a song. Reckless Skyline is an early contender for our Top 10 Albums of 2015 list. There’s just not a bad song on the record. Other standouts are “The Brightest Day,” “I Never” and “Cold Habit.” Her lone cover on the project, “Unknown Legend” is also a bright light on the project.
Bettye LaVette - Worthy (Cherry Red)
“Worthy” is an apt title for blues-soul superstar Bettye LaVette. Every lyric is emoted by the fantastic vocalist who has one of the strongest voices to ever grace a stage and she’s only gotten stronger with every album, particularly since her Americana-leaning I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise was released a decade ago. Now 69 years young, she shreds opener “Unbelievable” (a Bob Dylan standout) and moves onto great songs from modern music like Lennon/McCarthey’s “Wait” and the Rolling Stones “Complicated” as if these songs were meant to be recorded by Bettye LaVette and Bettye Layette only. Savoy Brown’s “When I Was A Young Girl” is also amongst the standouts on this brilliantly recorded and produced (by Joe Henry) recording.
Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Medicine (Magnolia Music)
This Nashville-based rootsy band showcase why they’ve become more known for the music that fits Americana more than it does the band’s more traditionally-known pop/rock sound. Sure, mainstream country fans may not ‘get it’ but if you’re open to great storytelling and a singer/songwriter style of roots rock, you’ll certainly find something to enjoy here. Songs like “Tightrope,” the fabulous single “Here We Go,” “Sisters Brothers” “The Last Thing We Do” and the stunning closer to Medicine, “When It’s All Said And Done.” Fans of folksy artists like David Gray, Jack Johnson, and Brett Dennen or country songwriters like Jon Randall should find something to enjoy here.
The Lone Bellow - Then Came The Morning (Descendant)
The band’s first self-titled album revealed a talented indie country/folk sound based around strong songwriting and sterling harmonies. The trio ups the ante even more with their sophomore project Then Came The Morning. Standouts on the album include the strong Stones-y “Cold As It Is,” the opening title track, the stunningly delicate “To The Woods” and the passionately rocking “If You Don’t Love Me.” This is The Lone Bellow on another level. Do not miss this record.
The Bros. Landreth - Let It Lie (Slate Creek)
The Canadian quartet showcases a rootsy country/rock sound but as rootsy as the sound is, it certainly could fit within a mainstream country radio station if given a shot. The vocals recall Dave Barnes and Marc Broussard in their natural soulful sounds while The Bros. Landreth’s songwriting fits well within the contest of the greatest country rock bands ever. “I Am A Fool,” “Going To The Country,” “Nothing” and “Firecracker” are among the band’s standout tracks from Let It Lie.