The first major Country release of 2015, Luke Bryan’s Spring Break themed album, hits stores this week as does Eli Young Band’s new EP, the live project from Shania Twain, music from indie fav John Statz and a look at the recently-released EP from Sidewalk Records newcomer Ruthie Collins, who, like Eli Young Band, sent her single to radio this week.
John Statz - Tulsa (Independent)
Working with fellow indie country singer/songwriter Jeffrey Foucault behind the boards, John Statz Tulsa is an interesting and very strong slice of Americana. His voice won’t appeal to everyone but those who love storytelling within their music will enjoy Tulsa and Statz. He wrote most of the album save for a pair of songs, the Foucault-penned “Any Town Will Do” and a smart cover of Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack.” Standouts include “Exposure,” “Tulsa,” “Tennessee” and “Amsterdam In Autumn.”
Shania Twain - Live From Las Vegas (Mercury)
A special CD/DVD set from the iconic and somewhat reclusive singer/songwriter and superstar of the 1990s which chronicles her residency in Las Vegas. It's fun, it's Shania and it's a great documentation of her time there. There'll won't be a single from the project but it could and should sell well for her as she just announced her upcoming "final" tour for 2015.
Eli Young Band - Turn It On EP (Republic Nashville)
The title track (listen here) is a strong single for the band, even if it is a bit different for them. Working with producers Jeremy Stover and Ross Copperman for the first time, the band’s EP showcases Eli Young Band as ready to take over the mainstream with these four songs. It’s very easy to see why Republic Nashville was so excited and moved on from the 10,000 Towns album. Each of the other three tracks on this EP could be singles which is something every band in the mainstream should want. “Your Place Or Mine” is the kind of song fans are more used to from Eli Young Band (a mid tempo ballad) while “Plastic” and “Drink You Up” have interesting melodies. “Drink You Up,” particularly feels like it could be an even better single for the Texas-natives than even “Turn It On.”
Ruthie Collins - Ruthie Collins EP (Sidewalk/Curb)
released earlier this year, the EP instantly showcases why the industry in Nashville and Sidewalk/Curb is particularly excited about Ruthie. She’s a talented vocalist and brings something different to mainstream country music that blends an organic rootsy sound with a dash of EDM inspired melodies and percussive beats. First single, the cleverly re-worked “Ramblin’ Man,” jumps out of the headphones with unique and expressive vocals and production. Collins, who went on a radio tour with a self-designed Airstream trailer, is an older soul at heart so releasing “Ramblin’ Man” makes sense. The easiest comparison to make for Ruthie is Miranda Lambert and “Vintage” clearly showcases this as does the vibe-y “Trainwreckin’.” Highly-recommended.
Luke Bryan - Spring Break…Checkin’ Out (Capitol)
In years’ past, Luke Bryan’s Spring Break EPs have served as a nice break from his regular musical output. In 2013 he compiled the first five years onto one 14 track album (Spring Break…Here To Party) and two years later he’s compiling last year’s 6 songs with this year’s 5 songs to create Spring Break…Checkin’ Out. It’s a great companion to that disc and gives fans every new song featured on the digital EPs (the first year featured “All My Friends Say”) and new songs like “Games” (written with Ashley Gorley) “Checkin’ Out” (Written with the Peach Pickers), “You And The Beach” are joined by “Spring Breakdown,” a song that works as Luke’s thank you with the fans and I can see how the song will be the anthem for all graduating college students too. The other songs from last year include “Like We Ain’t Ever,” “She Get Me High” and “The Sand I Brought To The Beach.”
Luke Bryan - Spring Break…The Setlist (Capitol/ZinePak)
A special limited-edition 48 page collector’s magazine, Spring Break…The Setlist features exclusive news, notes and memories from Luke Bryan about the entire run of the Spring Break series and the entire 25 song collection all mixed up like a setlist instead of just the 2013 CD and the 2015 compilations tacked together. It seems as if Luke really organized these CDs to have a pace just like he would any of his concerts and that’s really a cool item for fans too. Hardcore fans would do well to buy this set and if you missed the previous set, it seems that Spring Break…The Setlist would be the perfect version of his spring-themed albums to get, especially given how limited and unique it is.
You can order the pre-order for Zac Brown Band's Jekyll + Hyde and get two new singles (which will debut on the SoundScan Top Digital Singles chart tomorrow). Also, there is new music from Michael Ray, Cam, Macy Martin, Jana Kramer and more available in the new page at iTunes.