There’s a handful of interesting releases out in stores and we chronicle them on The Weekly New Release Report For March 3, 2015. Releases like Aaron Tippin’s 25, a collection of 25 songs representing the 25 years of his career, while Ray Benson & Asleep At The Wheel have cobbled together an impressive 22 song collection of Western Swing honoring Bob Wills with special guests from all over the music landscape including Amos Lee, Brad Paisley and George Strait. Then we have Brandi Carlisle’s new release (her first for ATO after years with Columbia) while also see the release of John King’s debut EP.
Cam - Welcome To Cam Country (EP) (Arista Nashville)
The talented California native showcases a natural singer/songwriter vibe on her four song EP available exclusively through Spotify (click here for more info on that). There's also a natural twang to her voice while sounding wholly contemporary with great songs like lead single "My Mistake" and "Half Broke Heart" showcases her talent while "Runaway Train" has an Adele meets Country quality to it. The fourth song, "Burning House" is a stunning showcase of song craft.
Brandi Carlisle - The Firewatcher’s Daughter (ATO)
A stunning and sturdy collection of folksy fare that certainly isn’t mainstream country in any pretense but Carlisle has never tried to be mainstream, even if she’d have made a hell of a record in country music if she was given an opportunity to. Standouts like “Wilder (We’re Chained),” “The Things I Regret,” “Murder In The City” and “Wherever Is Your Heart” are standouts but the wild rocker “Mainstream Kid” is her answer to trying to fit in a mainstream mold in the pop and rock world.
John King - On Your Lips [EP] (Black River Entertainment)
The second new act (after Kelsea Ballerini) on Black River Entertainment’s roster of artists, John King is primed to be a mainstream success for the rising indie label and “On Your Lips,” the title track feels ready to follow-up the fun “Tonight Tonight” as a Top 40 (or better) hit for King. “Something In The Water” was sent out a while back as a test track and it showcases the bluesy, soulful side of King’s artistry while “Let Your Hair Down” is a downright Aldean-like country/rocker. King is a talented singer and songwriter who is still in search of that elusive signature single, something not found on an otherwise enjoyable EP.
Wade Hayes - Go Live Your Life (conabar records)
Just a few years removed from surviving Stage 4 colon cancer, Wade Hayes returns with Go Live Your Life a tight collection of 10 tracks that showcase Wade Hayes in fine form on a blend of honky tonk numbers like “Love Knew Better,” “Wrecking Ball” and “Remember The Alimony.” Mixed in with these traditional numbers are strong ballads like the inspirational title track and “If The Sun Comes Up,” a song he recorded while in the throes of his cancer. It’s one of two tracks not written by Wade on the record (Ray Scott and George Teren did). Other oc-writers include Kenny Beard, Ward Davis, Bobby Pinson, Jeff Bates and Roger Springer.
Aaron Tippin - 25 (Nippit Records)
The first disc of this two disc, 25 track collection features the 10 biggest hits of Aaron Tippin’s career, hits like “You Got To Stand For Something,” “Working Man’s Ph.D.,” “Kiss This” and “Where The Stars And Stripses And The Eagle Fly.” They’re all re-recordings and as strong as we remember them while Tippin’s 15 other tracks on disc two include interesting takes on “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,” “Lets Stay Together” and “The Way You Look Tonight.” these songs are part of five interesting songs that close out the record with 10 new tracks like the rockin’ workin’ man anthem “Real People getting the second disc of 25 off the ground. Tippin has always been a better vocalist than anyone gives him credit for and it’s really showcased on those five covers and the new tunes like “Real People,” “Without A Kiss,” “On This Side Of Life” and “Free To Be Me.” His duet with wife Thea, “Easier Said Than Done” certainly joins the pantheon of great songs in Aaron Tippin’s catalog of hits. 25 is Well worth ordering from his website if you’re a fan of real honest country music.
Asleep At The Wheel - Still The King (Celebrating The Music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys) (Bismeaux/Mailboat)
It’s been decades since Bob Wills passed away yet his music’s as relevant today as it was back in the 1930s and 1940s. If you need proof of how vibrant the music he wrote and recorded back in the day is still as strong as ever, all you need to do is take a listen to the 22 tracks on this Asleep At The Wheel-fronted project. The album features great artists like Lyle Lovett, Pokey LaFarge, Willie Nelson, George Strait, Elizabeth Cook, Carrie Rodriguez, Brad Paisley, Shooter Jennings, Randy Rogers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Amos Lee and The Time Jumpers (with Vince Gill). The latter song, a take on the iconic Wills tune “Faded Love” features the late great Dawn Sears. AATW’s Ray Benson produced the project and performs throughout. Still The King is a great album, every song vibrant and the CD packaging amongst the best I’ve seen in years and hopefully a potential Grammy-award winner in the album packaging category come Grammy time next year.
Andrew Combs - All These Dreams (Coin Records/Thirty Tigers)
A strong vocalist and songwriter in the grand tradition of Elton John, Marcus Hummon and Townes Van Zandt, Nashville-based Andrew Combs makes smart adult music which certainly invokes a sense of classic storytelling often lost in the modern world. His vocals at times recall James Taylor while the production of All These Dreams is nothing but stellar. Fans of the storytelling style of songwriting will want to get their hands on Combs' stunning often unclassifiable music. There simply isn't a bad track on the record though "Foolin'," "Rainy Day Song" "Pearl" and "In The Name Of You" all are amongst the album's highlights.