The Weekly Release Report: November 20, 2015

Independent country artists rule the week of releases this week. Check out what we think of a handful of new albums and EPs (like the pictured Chris Lane's project) out now!

With Adele releasing her record this week, the major labels may be silent with major new releases but strong indie acts like Chris Lane, SmithField and Chris Cavanaugh are leading the charge to give you a reason to head to Apple Music and take a listen to/buy new tunes!

SmithField - SmithField (independent)
“Good Ol’ Days” may be the fun-filled debut single that brings fans to this EP but if you’re a fan of talented bands like Lady Antebellum, Thompson Square and such, you’re definitely going to find something to love on this generous 8 track EP (it really could be called an album). “You Don’t Know” has a vibrancy to it as does “Slippin’,” with it’s creative use of mandolins as the lead instrument along with percussive programmed loops. “Hey Whiskey” and “The Rust” both showcase this talented duo featuring Jennifer and Trey. Their talent shines here and while independent now, SmithField is a duo that should have no problem gaining attention from big labels looking for the next big duo, something this self-titled EP (or album) showcases.

Chris Lane - Fix EP (Big Loud Records)

While in the course of recording this EP, Chris Lane found himself as an artist. A completely contemporary country record with pop and soul influences mixed in the production and melodies, songs like “Cool” and “Stolen Car” highlight Lane’s growth as a singer and while this will have traditionalists screaming “Not country,” FIX is an enormously entertaining collection of music and showcases the singer and his producer, Joey Moi quite nicely. In fact it shows quite a bit of growth in sounds for Moi’s production as well. “Her Own Kind Of Beautiful” will recall FGL and could do well on country radio while “For Her” is a special ballad and perhaps the best song on the EP outside of the title track.

Chris Cavanaugh - Footprints on My Windshield (Independent)
A talented songwriter, Cavanaugh will recall Cole Swindell and Luke Bryan in music and vocal approach albeit with more steel guitars audibly in the mix of the songs (check out “Damned If I Don’t” for example). The title track is a mid-tempo power ballad about spending time with the one you love while “Nothin’ There But History” is exactly the kind of mid tempo story song radio still likes to play. The six songs here suggest a guy labels could be looking at.

The Raging Idiots “Presents The Raging Kidiots” (EP) (Black River Entertainment)
Bobby Bones’ radio show’s outgrowth music outlet debuts with “The Raging Idiots Presents The Raging Kidiots,” a collection of chiidren’s songs written by Bones and Producer Eddie. It’s a cute collection of songs that showcase that the duo are more than just a morning zoo sort of act. Families with kids would do well to listen to these.

Shovels & Rope - Busted Jukebox Volume 1 (DualTone Music Group)
Talented duo works with artists in and outside of Amerciana genre to deliver a clever collection of cover songs like Poison’s “Patience,” Emmylou Harris’ “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Day Light” and Nine Inch Nails “Last.” They also take on interesting covers of songs like Lou Reed’s “Last,” Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” and Elvis Costello’s “What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding.” Collaborators include Caroline Rose, The Milk Carton Kids, The Inlaws, Butch Walker, Lucious, JD McPherson, and Lucius. It’s a deliciously different way to go about a covers record and a strong collection of interesting songs.