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Past CD Reviews 2013 by Brenda Madden
 
January
CD Reviews

Pete Kennedy • The Nashville Sessions
Peter John Killawee • In The Weeds
Lisa Matassa • Somebody's Baby
Fletcher Avant • It's A Long Road
Jimmy Adams • The Geriatric Delinquent

February
CD Reviews

Amanda Nagurney • Gone
Darin & Brooke Aldridge • Live At Red..
Erich McMann • American Songbook
Mike Bryant • I Need You Strong For Me

March
CD Reviews

The Medley Boys • Medley Boys
Chris Wall • El Western Motel
Susan Toney • Love Is The Cure
Various Artists • God Didn’t Choose Sides

April
CD Reviews

Missouri Mile • Exit 214
Adam Pope • The America That I Know
Rod Ballou • Where Hell Meets High Water
Born n’ Bred • Australian Red Dirt
Year of October • Stories

 
May
CD Reviews

Mark Newton & Steve Thomas • Reborn
Jeni Carr • JC
Bobby Chitwood • Gravity
The Ball Family • Cowboy’s Last Words
Jeff Olson • Tradin’ Big Wheels

June
CD Reviews

Bobby Cyrus • Homeplace
Andy Joe Stewart • A Little Love
Don McNatt • Have Songs, Will Travel
Keith Pearson • The Bluegrass Collection
Gordon Wilcox • Break The News

July
CD Reviews

Joanna Mosca • Let It All Begin
Victoria Ray • Read My Lipstick
Bobby Yates • Have You Ever Really Listened
Gator & Sundown Band • A Chill Coming On

August
CD Reviews

Nu-Blu • Ten
Clay Alston • Nashville Bound
Bobby Atkins • 100% Country
Billy Jones Bluez • I’m A Bluesman
David Wayne • A Tribute To Marty Robbins

 
September
CD Reviews

Thomas White • Country Lives On
The Roys • Gypsy Runaway Train
Western Avenue • Western Avenue
Richard Lynch • The Last Of A Dying Breed
Carl Michael • 13 Stories

October
CD Reviews

Bobby Lewis • Here I Am Again
George Ducas • 4340
Carco Clave w/ Doug Jernigan • Instrumental
Dale Allen • Twelve Steps From A Six-Pack
Durwood Haddock • Keep ‘Em Dancin’

November
CD Reviews

Marty Raybon & Full Circle • The Back Forty
Skylar Elise • Skylar Elise
Diana Kelley • Lines
Tim Ash • Up On Blocks
Mike Aiken • Captains & Cowboys

December
CD Reviews

David Shelby • Rust Belt Cowboy
Allen Karl • Christmas In My Heart
Ron Crites • A Tribute To George Jones
Texas Gray • Get Rowdy And Yell
Doug Briney • Super Country Cowboy

 
 
January 2013
 
 
Pete Kennedy • The Nashville Sessions Volume 2 • www.petekennedy.net - 7 Stars

Ireland native, Pete Kennedy, shares his brand of country music in his current album, The Nashville Sessions Volume 2. Pete co-wrote all six songs on the CD and delivers each one with as much sincerity and depth with which they were written. An attractive production surrounds the strong lyrics and convincing vocals. Especially compelling is the song, “Love You Anyway.”
 
 
Peter John Killawee • In The Weeds • www.peterjohnkillawee.com - 6 Stars

Although Peter John Killawee's resume portrays him as a rocker, his recent CD, In The Weeds offers more of a leading-edge country sound particularly on songs like “All Better” which has a stand-out fiddle part and “Country Angel.” Even the uptempo “Pain Train,” has a country feel. Peter John Killawee wrote, recorded and mixed the album - a talented young man!
 
 
Lisa Matassa • Somebody's Baby • www.lisamatassa.com - 5 Stars

Lisa Matassa's cutting-edge CD, Somebody's Baby highlights seven songs, three of which she co-wrote, “Wouldn't You Like To Know,” Girl With A Rock 'n Roll Heart,” and “Learning As You Grow.” Lisa's style frequently walks that fine line between country and rock 'n roll that is so prevalent in today's country. Her vocals are energetic and impassioned even on her cover of the classic, “I Will Always Love You.”
 
 
Fletcher Avant • It's A Long Road • www.fletcheravant.com - 5 Stars

The liner notes of It's A Long Road characterize the project as “a journey of 'ups' and 'downs' in Fletcher Avant's life. From the first cut, “It's A Long Road” to the last, “I'm Getting Tore Up,” Fletcher identifies with the workin' man through his lyrics and straightforward delivery. This is a satisfying walk down a country road with plenty of steel, fiddle and country guitar.
 
 
Jimmy Adams • The Geriatric Delinquent - 4 Stars

The Geriatric Delinquent CD by Jimmy Adams is brimming with straight ahead barroom music with songs like “This Old Spouse” and “Eatin Boiled Eggs.” Three of the six songs were written by Jimmy and although the production is a little rough around the edges and the lyrics are now and again off the wall - just grab a beer, relax and have fun on this honky tonk road.
 
 
February 2013
 
 
Amanda Nagurney • Gone • www.amandanagurney.com - 6 Stars

Amanda Nagurney’s Gone CD displays her progressive sound on six contemporary country songs. From the opening uptempo song, “That’s What I Love About This Life” to the ballad “You Can Make It On Your Own,” Amanda delivers strong and entertaining vocals amid a solid production. The high point is “It Ain’t Just Music,” which Amanda sings with sincerity and believability - it obviously ain’t just music to her!
 
 
Darin & Brooke Aldridge • Live At Red, White And Bluegrass! - 6 Stars
www.darinandbrookealdridge.com

Darin & Brooke Aldridge’s CD, Live at Red, White and Bluegrass! is brimming with toe-tappin’ bluegrass with a slight country edge! From the instrumental, “Foggy Mountain Rock” to the more country-flavored “Making Plans,” Darin & Brooke and band deliver a dynamic live performance. The Jerry Salley, Gina Boe & Lee Black song, “Every Scar” is particularly appealing. This group has a winning sound.
 
 
Erich McMann • American Songbook • www.erichmcmann.com - 5 Stars

Erich McMann composed all 10 songs on this CD, American Songbook. The project, originally conceived in Branson, Missouri, was cut “in a spontaneous, old-school-style manner and environment” - recording 9 songs in one day with only a few overdubs added later. His music is a throwback to times past with songs like “Keep Me Loving You” and “Back On The Farm,” creating a distinctive project.
 
 
Mike Bryant • I Need You Strong For Me • www.mikebryant-nashville.net - 4 Stars

Mike Bryant’s CD, I Need You Strong For Me is comprised of 17 thoughtfully selected songs, including the poignant and personal song, “Watching Over Me” which Mike wrote about his two best friends as well as a re-make of the Charley Pride song, “Amy’s Eyes.” A solidly traditional country album, there is plenty of steel guitar, fiddle and mandolin wrapped around Mike’s rustic vocals.
 
 
March 2013
 
 
The Medley Boys • Medley Boys • www.MedleyBoys.com - 6 Stars

The Medley Boys album, Medley Boys, starts out rockin’ with “’67 Fastback.” From there the boys slam on the brakes and deliver an emotional ballad, “Walk Away,” with as much heart and soul as the first cut - a trend which continues throughout the CD. In addition to the strong production, compelling vocals and tight harmonies, group member, Jason Medley also wrote or co-wrote all the songs. A talented group that delivers!
 
 
Chris Wall • El Western Motel • www.ChrisWallMusic.com - 6 Stars

Chris Wall is known for writing the Confederate Railroad hit, “Trashy Women,” in addition to being a well-respected singer. El Western Motel is Chris’ first CD in ten years and it is an acoustic delight! Chris wrote all the songs except “Hello, I’m An Old Country Song” which he co-wrote with Dale Watson. His well-crafted lyrics, rugged vocals and sparse production make this album a hit!
 
 
Susan Toney • Love Is The Cure • www.SusanToney.com - 5 Stars

California-based singer/songwriter, Susan Toney’s new album, Love Is The Cure, is brimming with compositions that she wrote or co-wrote. Although recorded at Nashville’s Ocean Way Studios, Susan’s contemporary, bluesy and passionate sound shines through on these tunes. David Z’s production compliments Susan’s vocals perfectly. Particularly appealing is the title-cut, “Love Is The Cure.”
 
 
Various Artists • God Didn’t Choose Sides, Volume 1 • www.RuralRhythm.com - 5 Stars

This is the first in a planned series about the Civil War. What makes this project unique is that these songs are based on “Civil War stories about real people.” Lyrics are included in the insert along with a brief history. Various artists including Marty Raybon and Dale Ann Bradley lend their heartfelt vocals to these inspired songs. The production is done well with a pleasing bluegrass and country mix.
 
 
April 2013
 
 
Missouri Mile • Exit 214 • www.missourimile.com - 6 Stars

Duo, Missouri Mile is comprised of sisters, Sheena and Sheila. Their new EP, Exit 214 consists of seven songs written by the siblings along with the producer of this Americana-style project and noted songwriter, Byron Hill. The songs are well-crafted and Missouri Mile’s delivery is full of family harmonies and right on the mark, particularly on the opening cut, “I Can Feel The Fall Coming” and “He’ll Have Another.”

 
 
Adam Pope • The America That I Know • www.adampopemusic.com - 6 Stars

Adam Pope’s The America That I Know EP opens with almost two minutes of historical moments recorded during pivotal times in the United States. From there Adam rolls into the first song, “The America That I Know.” Having written all the songs, Adam delivers a heartfelt performance on the material crafted from his beliefs and thoughts about America. “This Song’s For The Man” will resonate with people across the country.

 
 
Rod Ballou • Where Hell Meets High Water • www.rodballoumusic.com - 5 Stars

Rod Ballou’s CD, Where Hell Meets High Water includes eight songs that Rod co-wrote including the fun song, “Gramma’s Got A Lover.” This project is straight ahead country music produced by Chip Martin and delivered with expertise by Rod. From songs like “It’s All In How You Look At It” to “Broke Ain’t Fun,” Rod is convincing and the songs are solid.

 
 
Born n’ Bred • Australian Red Dirt • www.bornnbredausreddirt.com - 5 Stars

Australian-based group, Born n’ Bred’s release, Australian Red Dirt, is jammed with music that sounds like it came straight out of Texas or Oklahoma. Their “red dirt” style is evident throughout the project including songs like “The Letter Red” and “Let It Be Real.” The vocals are earthy and honest and are surrounded nicely by their edgy musical style.

 
 
Year of October • Stories • www.facebook.com/yearofoctober - 5 Stars

The trio, Year Of October, comprised of Phlecia Sullivan, Josh Sullivan and Seth Sizemore, displayed true passion and determination in the recording and writing of this project, Stories. Recorded in “The Spare Bedroom” they took great care and delivered a strong project - their rock-oriented style is fresh and appealing. We should be hearing a lot more from this group.

 
 
May 2013
 
 
Mark Newton & Steve Thomas • Reborn • www.newtonandthomas.com - 7 Stars

Pinecastle Records has a reputation of releasing some of the best Bluegrass music and this CD, Reborn, by Mark Newton & Steve Thomas is no exception. Opening with “Old McDonald,” the duo takes us back to the farm with a fun twist on “eieio.” From there, they make a transition to the more serious, “The Key.” Newton & Thomas have a nice easy style that just makes you want to hear more!

 
 
Jeni Carr • JC • www.jenicarr.com - 6 Stars

Kentucky native, Jeni Carr delivers an earthy and soulful country album of mostly self-penned tunes. Her vocals capture attention particularly on songs like “Over And Done.” The material is well written with the stand-out song being “Grace.” The production is solid and although sometimes edgy it maintains a nice country feel. This CD should garner Jeni Carr some attention in the music world.

 
 
Bobby Chitwood • Gravity • www.bobbychitwood.com - 6 Stars

Bobby Chitwood kicks off his album Gravity with the rockin’ and fun song, “Barn On The Rooftop” and ends it with the steamy “Put Your Lips Here (On Mine).” The CD shows a lot of depth and strong material from start to finish. Bobby’s vocals are appealing, confident and compelling and combined with a well-constructed production makes this album a must listen. Keep watching this Texan!

 
 
The Ball Family • Cowboy’s Last Words • www.theballranch.com - 5 Stars

Western music has a rich heritage from Gene Autry to Sons of the Pioneers and The Ball Family continues to carry that torch nicely with the release of Cowboy’s Last Words. The family harmonies of Gary Ball, Sue Ball and Sherry Ball Luster are rich and authentic and mixed with a solid Western production makes you feel like you’re on the prairie underneath a beautiful Western sky.

 
 
Jeff Olson • Tradin’ Big Wheels For Guitar Strings - 5 Stars

Jeff Olson’s Tradin’ Big Wheels For Guitar Strings is a traditional country album interweaved with some truck drivin’ music and a little bit of a blues accent on occasion. Jeff wrote all eleven songs and conveys each one with a personal touch. The “big rig” story song, “The Legend of Black Mountain” highlights Jeff’s hard-core country vocals and writing skills.

 
 
June 2013
 
 
Bobby Cyrus Bobby Cyrus • Homeplace • www.BobbyCyrusOfficial.com - 7 Stars

The Homeplace CD by Bobby Cyrus is a slice of country music heaven. Bobby’s powerful vocals compliment the well-crafted lyrics - seven of which he had a hand in writing. Tom T. Hall (“A Rose For Marie”) and Billy Ray Cyrus (“Milkman’s Eyes”) add memorable moments, but Bobby really shines on songs like “Carved Our Names In Stone” and “Send Me Wings.” “Homeplace” a recitation by Bobby’s father ends this very personal CD.

 
 
Andy Joe Stewart Andy Joe Stewart • A Little Love • www.AndyJoeStewart.com - 6 Stars

Andy Joe Stewart’s A Little Love CD is a refreshing breeze of West Coast country music. Although his background in Los Angeles is not so country, he delivers each of these ten songs with vocal ease and believability. From the uptempo “Sweet Darlin’” to the heartfelt and emotional “Turn The Radio On,” this project is a pleaser from start to finish.

 
 
Don McNatt Don McNatt • Have Songs, Will Travel • www.DonMcNatt.com - 5 Stars

Don McNatt wrote/co-wrote all but one of the twelve songs included on his CD, Have Songs, Will Travel. There is certainly an assortment of material from the opening bluesy song, “Singing A Song” to the humorous, “Ripped Up Tore Up.” Don even includes a Christmas song, “Tomorrow It’s Going To Be Christmas.” Don approaches each song with enthusiasm and conveys the varied styles with precision.

 
 
Keith Pearson Keith Pearson • The Bluegrass Collection • www.ColtRecords.com - 5 Stars

Keith Pearson’s CD, The Bluegrass Collection, is ten songs of bluegrass pleasure. From “Bluegrass Lullaby” to “Talkin’ To The Lord,” Keith’s rendition is on the mark with each and every number. It is obvious that Keith is at home musically and the instrumental, “Vladivostok Two Step” is a lively piece that is quite entertaining.

 
 
Gordon Wilcox Gordon Wilcox • Break The News - 5 Stars

Gordon Wilcox’s Break The News CD is a stroll down the traditional country music memory lane. There’s enough steel guitar, dobro, and fiddle to make any traditionalist tap their toes. Gordon begins the album with “Single Yellow Rose,” delivering it with honesty and sincerity. He ends the project with the country gospel tune, “Jesus Don’t Turn Me Away.” A nice collection dedicated to his daughter.

 
 
July 2013
 
 
Joanna Mosca Joanna Mosca • Let It All Begin • www.joannamosca.com - 6 Stars

Opening the CD with the uptempo, uplifting song, “Dream On Savannah,” Joanna Mosca immediately makes a statement with her clear and crisp vocals telling the story with believability and heart. The 6-Song EP, produced by Bryan White, brings attention to her ability to take a song and make it her own including “Keep On Driving” and “Where Does Good Love Go” (a duet with Richie McDonald), both of which are captivating.

 
 
Victoria Ray Victoria Ray • Read My Lipstick • www.victoriaraymusic.com - 5 Stars

Victoria Ray’s CD, Read My Lipstick, is sure to garner her much attention from contemporary country music fans The project is well-produced and her vocals are on target. The edgy, attitude-driven title-cut, “Read My Lipstick” is progressive and should get some radio play. She slows it down on “Just A Dream” and her vocals are haunting and appealing.

 
 
Bobby Yates Bobby Yates • Have You Ever Really Listened - 5 Stars

Bobby Yates CD, Have You Ever Really Listened, is a lesson in traditional country music. His style is immersed in heritage and is surrounded by the musicianship of Hank Williams Drifting Cowboy Band (Jerry Rivers, Don Helms, Bob McNett and Hillous Butrum). The song, “’Neath A Cold Grey Tomb Of Stone” is particularly chilling. There’s plenty of tradition here for anyone who likes Hank Williams.

 
 
Gator and the Sundown Band Gator and the Sundown Band • A Chill Coming On - 4 Stars

Gator and the Sundown Band’s CD, A Chill Coming On delivers eleven traditional country music favorites like “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Working Man Blues” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The title cut “A Chill Coming On” was written by Gator and is a likeable song. While there’s not a lot new here, it is a gracious tribute to traditional country music and the legends of the past.

 
 
August 2013
 
 
Nu-Blu Nu-Blu • Ten • www.nu-blu.com - 6 Stars

Ten by Nu-Blu is simply a delicious feast of bluegrass music. From the opening toe-tapper, “That Road,” to each song following, there is a dynamic and deep rooted sound that pays homage to tradition but yet has a spark that is edgy and new. Their harmonies and musicianship compliment the vocals nicely. “The Seed” is a stand out song - heartwarming and thoughtful. All in all, this is a first-class bluegrass CD.

 
 
Clay Alston Clay Alston • Nashville Bound • www.clayalston.com - 5 Stars

Clay Alston continues to walk that traditional line with the release of Nashville Bound. From originals like “Another Round” to covers like “The Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line,” Clay delivers each song with a traditional flair surrounded by the sweet country sounds of fiddle and steel guitar. Having written five of the ten songs, Clay’s songwriting skills are also displayed on this authentic country project.

 
 
Bobby Atkins Bobby Atkins • 100% Country - 5 Stars

Bobby Atkins’ album 100% Country is just that - pure country! He has taken fourteen vintage country songs and made them his own - beginning with “New Patches” and ending with “Family Bible” plus an abundance of tradition in between with songs like “There Goes My Everything,” “Ring Of Fire” and “Hello Darlin’.” Bobby’s vocals are distinctly traditional and are sure to please a classic country music connoisseur.

 
 
Billy Jones Bluez Billy Jones Bluez • I’m A Bluesman • myspace.com/billyjonesbluez - 5 Stars

Billy Jones Bluez’s album I’m A Bluesman proves just that - Billy knows the blues. From “The Iceman” to “You And Me” there’s plenty of traditional blues mixed with a funky fresh style of his own. The music compliments his strong vocal delivery especially osman.n songs like “Love Nobody Else” and “I’m Yo’ Freak.” There’s true emotion evident in this project - a must for any blue

 
 
David Wayne David Wayne • A Tribute To Marty Robbins - 4 Stars

Marty Robbins is a country music legend and it’s only natural that tributes would evolve. In A Tribute To Marty Robbins, David Wayne compliments this extraordinary artist performing such memorable songs like “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife” and “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)” and while it’s always hard to compete with the original, David does a fine rendition of Marty’s material.

 
 
September 2013
 
 
Thomas White CD Thomas White • Country Lives On • www.thomaswhitemusic.com - 7 Stars

Thomas White’s CD, Country Lives On is overflowing with self-penned truly traditional country music. He hits the mark on each and every song. Backed by some of Nashville’s best musicians, his songs come to life with a vocal delivery made with the soul of a country music troubadour. From the first song “The Good Kind” to the final cut, “Mingo County,” Thomas White is exceptional. Country lives on!

 
 
The Roys • Gypsy Runaway Train • www.theroysonline.com - 6 Stars

The Roys have, yet again, recorded an amazing bluegrass album, this one entitled, Gypsy Runaway Train. The project is a mixture of original compositions and familiar standards like Merle Haggard’s “Ramblin’ Fever” and Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” Their sweet harmonies and unique blend have captured the essence of each song - making it their own. This is bluegrass at it’s best.

 
 
Western Avenue CD Western Avenue • Western Avenue • www.westernavenue.ca - 6 Stars

This Canadian trio is comprised of Nikki English, Keith Robertson and Matt Williams. Their seven-song self-titled EP has a refreshing contemporary country style with noteworthy harmonies. The songs are well-written with all members contributing to the material selection. From “Highway Headin’ Out Of Town” to the acoustic “Wherever You Are,” this collection offers a distinct and memorable sound.

 
 
Richard Lynch • The Last Of A Dying Breed • www.keepinitcountryfarm.com - 5 Stars

Richard Lynch is The Last Of A Dying Breed as the title declares. This album is brimming with traditional country music which Richard delivers with confidence and ease. His vocal honesty is felt in each song – and his enjoyment of the music shines through particularly on songs like “The More I Like My Dog” and “We Drink A lot Alike.”

 
 
Carl Michael CD Carl Michael • 13 Stories • www.reverbnation.com/carlmichael - 5 Stars

Carl Michael delivers a thirteen song CD entitled 13 Stories with a rock ‘n roll style that’s all his own. His vocal approach is raw, emotional and edgy throughout this all original hard hitting material. Of particular interest is the slower “Don’t Apologize” and the drivin’ rocker “Sick Of The Drama.” Carl’s earthy vocal style wraps itself around his unique lyrics making this an enticing project.

 
 
October 2013
 
 
Bobby Lewis CD Bobby Lewis • Here I Am Again • www.bobbylewislute.com - 6 Stars

Bobby Lewis opens up his CD, Here I Am Again Country Variety Pack with a self-penned tune entitled “Alice In Wonderland” - a well-written song and aptly delivered. He ends the album with “World Of Love,” a first-rate duet with Diane McCall. With a long history in country music, Bobby knows how to record a true country music album - plenty of fiddle and steel wrapped around his smooth, seasoned vocals.

 
 
George Ducas CD George Ducas • 4340 • www.georgeducas.com - 6 Stars

George Ducas is well-known for his songwriting abilities with songs cut by numerous artists including Garth Brooks and George Jones. His new CD, 4340, spotlights not only his writing, but his honky-tonk vocals as well. From the timely ballad, “Ain’t That Crazy,” to the rowdy, “Give Me Back My Honky Tonk,” George delivers his brand of alt. country – a mix of Texas and Tradition with a hint of Contemporary. Nice!

 
 
Carco Clave CD Carco Clave with Doug Jernigan • Instrumental - 6 Stars

This CD, Carco Clave with Doug Jernigan is for country music fans who love the steel guitar. On this production, Carco plays pedal and lap steel, lead and rhythm guitar, bass and baritone guitar. Doug Jernigan joins in playing pedal steel on nine tracks bringing the crying steel sound to the forefront in this instrumental album featuring classics like “Faded Love,” “There She Goes” and “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You.”

 
 
Dale Allen CD Dale Allen • Twelve Steps From A Six-Pack • www.littletingodmusic.com - 5 Stars

Songwriter, Dale Allen, wrote or co-wrote the twelve songs included on his CD, Twelve Steps From A Six-Pack. Jammed with traditional country music, Dale’s unpolished vocals bring each song to life with sincerity and fun - even yodeling on “Yodel Lady.” From “Bars On The Door” to the title cut “Twelve Steps From A Six-Pack,” Dale Allen keeps it country.

 
 
Durwood Haddock CD Durwood Haddock • Keep ‘Em Dancin’ • www.durwoodhaddock.com - 5 Stars

Durwood Haddock is an award-winning songwriter with classics like “There She Goes” to his credit. This traditional country CD, Keep ‘Em Dancin’ includes plenty of fiddle and steel guitar with a Texas swing flavor. Most of the material was written by Durwood with only four covers on this twelve song album. The project has a straightforward production which surrounds Durwood’s rough and raw vocals nicely.

 
 
November 2013
 
 
Marty Raybon CD Marty Raybon & Full Circle • The Back Forty • www.martyraybon.com - 7 Stars

Marty Raybon & Full Circle’s new release entitled, The Back Forty, highlights not only Marty’s Bluegrass vocal style, but his songwriting skills as well, co-writing five of the ten songs with writers Jerry Salley, John Fountain, Michael Bonagura, and Thom Case. From the first song, “That Janie Baker” to the last, “Mountain Love,” Marty & Full Circle have a blend that is so genuine and honest - it’s refreshing!
 
 
Skylar Elise CD Skylar Elise • Skylar Elise • www.skylarelise.com - 6 Stars

Under the watchful eye of producer, D. Scott Miller, teenager, Skylar Elise, has released a six song self-titled EP. Skylar’s vocals are quite developed for her age and the songs are geared for the young country music audience. She wrote one song “You Wish,” which stands out on the project. Skylar should garner some attention as she continues to develop her talent - the country music world will be hearing more from her.

 
 
Diana Kelley CD Diana Kelley • Lines • www.reverbnation.com/dianakelleymusic - 5 Stars

Singer/songwriter, Diana Kelley offers up a fourteen song CD on which she has written/co-written all of the songs. Her lyrics are thoughtful and relatable and the melody’s compliment the mood of each song nicely. While the production is simple and the vocals unpolished, this CD will appeal to those interested in feeling the song’s emotion like in “Jesus In New Orleans” and “Ain’t Through Sinnin’ Yet.”
 
 
Tim Ash CD Tim Ash • Up On Blocks • www.timash.net - 5 Stars

Tim Ash’s CD, Up On Blocks, opens with a rockin’ song entitled, “Tattoos, Tractors, Tanktops, and Trucks” and while this song sounds more pop/rock than country, there are some country music gems on the project including “Losing Her All Over Again,” “Warning Signs,” “Beertropolis.” And “Lay It On Me.” There is a passion in Tim’s vocals that makes this project appealing.
 
 
Mike Aiken CD
Mike Aiken • Captains & Cowboys • www.mikeaikenmusic.com - 5 Stars

Mike Aiken’s CD, Captains & Cowboys includes twelve songs, eight of which Mike had a hand in writing. This project is filled with raw emotion and goes from the ocean to the honky-tonks. Of particular interest is the song, “Your Memory Wins” (co-written with Austin Cunningham) and “Captains & Cowboys” (co-written with Brad Davis). All in all, Mike has a lot to say and he delivers his message well.
 
 
December 2013
 
 
David Shelby David Shelby • Rust Belt Cowboy • www.davidshelbymusic.com - 6 Stars

Detroit native, David Shelby, delivers his own brand of country music in his album, Rust Belt Cowboy. He opens the CD with the toe tappin’ “Kick A Little Dirt Around” and ends with the fun, “Cinderella With A New Tattoo.” David had a hand in writing all but one of the songs as well as co-producing. A little more edgy than traditional, David is developing his own style of country.
 
 
Allen Karl Allen Karl • Christmas In My Heart • www.allenkarlproductionsllc.com - 5 Stars

Allen Karl’s Christmas In My Heart CD would be a welcome addition to any country music holiday collection. Allen’s smooth delivery of songs like “Little Hometown At Christmas” and the familiar “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is warm and genuine. There is also the recognizable “Santa Looks A Lot Like Daddy.” Allen Karl adds a touch of traditional country to this holiday season.

 
 
Ron Crites Ron Crites • A Tribute To George Jones • www.roncrites.com - 5 Stars
www.georgejonestributeshow.com

Ron Crites’ CD is a tribute to the legendary George Jones. Ron does his version of some of George’s biggest hits including “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” “White Lightnin’,” “Choices,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Ron has kept the production and vocals close to George’s originals, and while no one can out sing “The Possum,” it is a nice tribute.
 
 
Texas Gray Texas Gray • Get Rowdy And Yell • www.texasgray.com - 5 Stars

The group, Texas Gray (consisting of Allen Vinyard, Randy Henderson, Greg Hatley, and Tim McInroe) offers up an album, Get Rowdy And Yell, full of original material with a Texas honky-tonk style. While the production and vocals are raw and unpolished, there are some gems here like the ballads “A Smoother Blend Of Whiskey” and “Pride Is A River.”

 
 
Doug Briney Doug Briney • Super Country Cowboy - 5 Stars

Doug Briney’s CD, Super Country Cowboy is a collection of country songs with a more traditional feel. Opening with the title-cut, “Super Country Cowboy,” Doug conveys each song with a heartfelt honesty. Of particular interest is the story song, “Eugene Fuguay” and the patriotic “Unknown Soldier.” All in all this production should garner some attention for Doug Briney.
 
 
 

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