The last Friday in October holds the fate of four brand new releases in its hands with the debut album from “Buy Me A Bat” singer Chris Janson, the Reviver Records debut EP from LOCASH, Sam Hunt’s Between The Pines mixtape, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s second album together, T.G. Shepherd’s duets project and Chris Roberts solo debut project.
T.G. Sheppard - Legendary Friends & Country Duets (Cleopatra Records)
The album’s title is an apt description of the iconic singer’s latest record, his first for Cleopatra. These are Country duets with legendary friends like The Oak Ridge Boys, Conway Twitty, Lorrie Morgan, Crystal Gayle, Ricky Skaggs, George Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis, just to name a few. The record is well produced by Denny Diante and standouts include “The Killer” with Jerry Lee Lewis, “Songman” with Merle Haggard,” “In Texas” with Willie Nelson and “Why Me Lord” with Conway Twitty. Lorrie Morgan’s song “The Next One” showcases how strong her voice still is and her ability to sing torch ballads while a version of Bryan Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” is perhaps the most surprising track on this stellar country album in that it features Engelbert Humperdinck. Anyone interested in great songs, great singers and just a fun collection of all star talent should check this record out.
Lindsay Lawler - Two Peaches Six Cookies (Independent)
The talented vocalist has crafted her most-ambitious project yet with friend and frequent collaborators Chris Roberts and Greg Bieck producing the Two Peaches Six Cookies. This is a powerful blend of country/pop that rivals anything from major labels from both a songwriting and talent standpoint. “This Is Gonna Hurt” has programmed loops and melodies which enhance her music and give off an air of Lindsay being the female equivalent of Sam Hunt at times. There are powerful songs on this record including the two duets with Chris Roberts, “Let’s Be Lonely Together” and cover of Rihanna and Ne-Yo’s “Hate That I Love You.” These songs showcase Lawler’s powerful country voice and showcase Roberts own talents (who just released his debut solo project this week) too. “Goodbye Go” is a moderate hit already while “Train Wreck” is a song which could be a hit and position Lawler as country’s Pat Benatar.
LOCASH - I Love This Life (Reviver Records)
The talented Duo’s debut makes good on their considerable talent. The title track is a bonafide radio hit and there’s definitely more hits to come from this six track EP. See our full review of the EP here.
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell - So Familiar (Rounder Records)
The talented artists re-team for their second collection of songs together which finds Edie Brickell singing her lyrics and melodies over Martin’s iconic banjo picking. Their first collection, Love Has Come For You, won a Grammy and is produced by that album’s producer Peter Asher as well. The album is elegant bluegrass-tinged folk music and is a soundtrack of sorts to the duo’s musical “Bright Star,” which uses a couple of the songs on So Familiar in its book. Brickell is still a brilliant vocalist and this is a record that deserves any and all attention it receives, particularly for the title track and lush, orchestral “Way Back In The Day.”
Chris Janson - Buy Me A Boat (Warner Bros.)
After trials and tribulations that often afflict artists in Nashville, Janson breaks out on his third record label deal proving that the third time is really the charm. Warner Bros took the singer to the top of the charts with the title track and there’s more where that came from here. Read our full album review here.
Sam Hunt - Between The Pines (Acoustic Mixtape) - MCA Nashville
Re-issued for fans as a thank you of sorts on the anniversary of the release of his debut Montevallo, this collection of songs helped bring Hunt to the forefront while also serving as the template for Montevallo. It is interesting to hear many of these songs in more stripped-down arrangements and there are handful tracks which Hunt didn’t put on his album including “Vandalizer,” “Goodbye” and his original take on “I Met A Girl,” a song now a stone country ballad for Warner’s William Michael Morgan.
Chris Roberts - The Way West (Catch This Music)
A well-produced, well-crafted collection of songs, The Way West showcases the talent that is often ‘hidden’ in Nashville. See our full review of the album here.