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Country - Verschenen op 24 april 2020 | Highway 20 Records

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Talk about timing! Though she obviously did not see it coming, Lucinda Williams’ latest release perfectly captures the shared experience of a world in the grip of a global pandemic. Early on in "Bad News Blues" she asserts, "Bad news hangin' in the air/Bad new layin' on the ground/Bad news walkin' up the stairs/Bad news all around" and the hues remain bleak later in "Shadows & Doubts": "Yeah these are the dark new days/That much is true/And there are so many ways/To crush you." With much of it set to spare, dirty blues/electric folk backing tracks courtesy of her ace road band led by guitarist Stuart Mathis, her pique and fury make for the most tuneful and best crafted set of tunes in her oeuvre, certainly some of her most heartfelt and direct. Thirty years into building one of the proudest singer-songwriter catalogs in the business, this poet's daughter now feels most comfortable in a couple of predictable songwriting modes. There are slow blues-based songs with choruses of repeated lines like the opener, "You Can't Rule Me," lyrically dense list songs like "Big Rotator" and the occasional midtempo almost rock number like "Big Rotator." Her voice has become more imploring and expressive as her vibrato has departed and her range and timbre have grown into a smoky growl. Williams effectively sing-speaks her way through the spooky, reverb-drenched "Wakin' Up," a frightening moment of realization in a bad relationship. "Man Without a Soul" is effectively, indirectly political. The album's only hopeful moment is the appropriately titled, "Big Black Train," a ballad for the ages where the towering songwriter refuses to yield to hopelessness. Williams, with much left to say, musically mulls these troubled times. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 24 juli 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Verschenen op 6 september 2019 | Low Country Sound - Elektra

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The country supergroup of Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby—the Highwomen—mercifully isn't about girl power. Theirs is a show of strength by four grown-ass women and their mighty voices. They harmonize like nobody's business (the '80s-tinged "Redesigning Women," rodeo-sweetheart track "Heaven Is a Honky Tonk") but it's just as fun when they trade verses, as on the wickedly swinging "My Name Can't Be Mama" and lonesome-West title track, co-written with Jimmy Webb (who composed "Highwayman," made famous by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, who adopted the moniker in 1985 for their quartet). Morris takes center stage for "Loose Change," highlighting her clever-metaphor lyrics: "I'm gonna be somebody's lucky penny someday / instead of rolling around your pocket like loose change." Carlile exudes star power for the excellent "Wheels of Laredo" and "If She Ever Leaves Me"—a claim-staking weepie told from a lesbian POV. While not as famous, Shires ("Don't Call Me," a real spitfire) and Hemby (the Anne Murray-esque "My Only Child") prove much more than supporting players. And when all four voices come together with no solo turns for the angelic "Crowded Table," it's truly a high. © Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 12 juli 2019 | Columbia

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Country - Verschenen op 1 januari 2002 | American Recordings

Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Produced by Rick Rubin, Johnny Cash’s legendary American recordings are not only among his major musical statements, but also its moving final will. Released in November 2002, American IV – The Man Comes Around is the last volume of the collection that was released while Cash was still alive (He passed away 10 months after its release). Using the famous “cover” recipe, Johnny Cash managed in this record to turn other musicians’ compositions, sometimes recent work, into his own unique style. Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and Sting are all covered, and when listening to Cash’s rendition of their songs it is sometimes difficult to recall their original versions. As usual, Rubin’s work on the soundboard is devoted to Johnny Cash’s voice. Caught it its last whispers, the voice is haunting, yet never morose.Indeed, the voice is key in “American IV”.  The material can bring chills (the video clip of Hurt is deeply moving and, after listening to the track, Trent Reznor proclaimed “It’s like I have lost my girlfriend. This song doesn’t belong to me anymore…”), Give My Love To Rose evokes a sadness that is a strike at the heart, and I Hung My Head expresses an innocence that is profoundly tender. Even when he deals with the classic repertoire of country music, many that he recorded in the past (Sam Hall, Give My Love To Rose, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Streets of Laredo, Danny Boy) the Man in Black brings to his interpretation the sorrow and sensitivity of his dying condition, always with grace and dignity.A sad yet festive funeral, the record includes many featured guest artists: Fiona Apple and Nick Cave sing, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Marty Stuart strum their guitars, old partner Cowboy Jack Clement pulls out his dobro, Joey Waronker abandons Beck and Air to join in the rhythm section, and Benmont Tench brings in an array of keyboards including an organ, harmonium, Mellotron, vibraphone and even a Wurlitzer.Music lovers from all over the world recognized what a masterpiece American IV – The Man Comes Around had been created, and its reception led it to be a gold record, which was Johnny Cash’s first in thirty years. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 20 mei 2016 | Mercury (Universal France)

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At a time when many contemporary country artists were seemingly trying to be anything but — layering on pop, rap or reggae — Chris Stapleton comfortably settled into the past. Straight from the title-track opener, the Kentucky singer-songwriter sounds like the lost member of the outlaw movement of the ’70s: earthy, road-weary and, as he sings, "nowhere-bound." (He also nods directly at his roots on the swampy “Outlaw State of Mind.”) Despite the tough-guy name, those men were romantics, and Stapleton's tender-hearted side shows up in the form of regret and resignation, as on the Southern-rock spitfire "Nobody to Blame" and barroom waltz "Fire Away.” The latter, like much of the record, is richly imbued with the haunted-angel backing vocals of Morgane Stapleton, the singer's wife. If there's another special guest here, it's whiskey — both his devil and salve — which appears in five of the album's 14 songs, including the barfly swoon “Tennessee Whiskey,” first made famous by George Jones. As Stapleton rasps in the breathtakingly spare "Whiskey and You," "I drink because I'm lonesome and I'm lonesome because I drink." It's the perfect album for Saturday night and Sunday morning. © Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 13 april 2018 | Oh Boy Records

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Seeing as how Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark aren't with us any more, we'd best make the most of our remaining time with John Prine! A great songwriter who is little-known this side of the Atlantic, but adored by a cult following back home, Prine started as a protégé of Kris Kristofferson, and is anything but a sub-Dylan. Prine has even become known as one of the most underrated portraitists of his generation. And while his wry humour always protects him from any temptation towards soppiness, he also knows how to touch the heart. With Prine, above all, anti-establishment spirit is never far from the surface. It's rare to see caustic wit and pure emotion blended together with such talent… After a superb record full of mixed duets with Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Alison Krauss, Susan Tedeschi, Iris DeMent, Amanda Shires and Miranda Lambert, John Prine has brought out his first record in 13 years made up entirely of new songs. Produced with a certain reserve and sparseness by the now much-sought-after Dave Cobb, The Tree Of Forgiveness brings in few fellow writers (Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Roger Cook, Keith Sykes and Phil Spector) and a few fellow performers (Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires). At 71 years of age, the songwriter from Chicago has a voice to match his age. It has been ravaged by sickness and cigarettes, but its sound perfectly matches what he is singing. More a storyteller than an entertainer, Prine has hit the right balance between rather original mad old man and the sage who regards the world with a certain detachment and a good dose of humour. The work also speaks of death (over the last twenty years his cancer has come and gone) and his loves... Even if we have come a long way from his masterpieces of the 1970s (the self-titled John Prine but also Sweet Revenge and Bruised Orange), this 2018 work is still a lot of fun. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 1 mei 1968 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Country - Verschenen op 3 juli 2020 | Legacy Recordings

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Country - Verschenen op 30 maart 2018 | MCA Nashville

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In 2013 when, to everyone's surprise, the impeccable Same Trailer Different Park won the Grammy Award for best country album, Kacey Musgraves wisely dodged the pitfalls of Nashville: namely, the temptation to become yet another knock-off Taylor Swift. And it shows in her lyrics about homosexuality, dope smoking and single mothers – themes that are none too popular on the more conservative fringe of American country music... for Pageant Material, her second work, which came out in summer 2015, the Texan continued in much the same vein. Where a song looks to be setting out on a well-worn, cliché-ridden path, our young cowgirl gives a sharp tug on the reins and really makes the writing shine. We alternate between pure country and pop country, by way of some numbers with much more of a slightly retro rock flavour, with banjo and pedal steel guitar, or, going the other way, languorous violins... Without completely revolutionising the genre or rattling the walls of Nashville, this daughter of Golden, Texas certainly left fans wondering what her next album was going to look like... In Spring 2018, Kacey Musgraves gave them their answer. A third album, this time slanted a little more towards pop. While country fundamentalists might switch off, the curious would do well to listen to Golden Hour to the end. It might be the fact of her recent wedding to colleague Ruston Kelly that colours this record with love with a capital L. Without coming off soppy, these love songs offer real emotion and a new sincerity. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kacey Musgraves said she was influenced by Neil Young, Sade and the Bee Gees! Quite an eclectic and surprising triumvirate, but after listening to Golden Hour right the way through, it makes sense, kind of. Let yourself be carried away by songs that flower like an Indian summer, and their strikingly moving melodies. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 22 mei 2020 | New West Records

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On April 5, 2010, the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, owned by coal giant Massey Energy, was destroyed in an explosion. A total of 29 miners were killed in what was the worst mining disaster in America for 40 years. While the CEO should have spent the rest of his life behind bars for violating the safety regulations that protected his employees, he was only faced with a fine and a few months in prison. Worse still, he then went into politics. Ten years on, who remember the victims? Well, Musician Steve Earle certainly does. The Pope of Americana has even dedicated his 2020 release to the tragedy which has now been turned into a play called Coal Country by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. The duo asked Earle to write songs for the show, some of which can be found here along with several other compositions. With that unmistakable gruff voice and a roots approach that mixes country, rock, folk, bluegrass and blues, his music just got a whole lot more impressive here and is at times moving, particularly when he recites the names of the 29 workers who lost their lives on It’s About Blood. As always with Steve Earle, anti-capitalist activism is at the heart of his art. But he wanted to use his music for something meaningful here and hopes it will change the minds of Trump voters, who currently make up 68% of the electorate in West Virginia. “Given the way things are now, it was maybe my responsibility to make a record that spoke to and for people who didn’t vote the way that I did. One of the dangers that we’re in is if people like me keep thinking that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist or an asshole, then we’re fucked, because it’s simply not true. I wanted to speak to people that didn’t necessarily vote the way that I did, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything in common. We need to learn how to communicate with each other. And the way to do that — and to do it impeccably —is simply to honour those guys who died at Upper Big Branch”. And impeccably he does it, for as an accomplished troubadour in American mythology, Steve Earle knows just how to avoid that cumbersome, unnatural feel that music often has when there’s a “message” behind it. Needless to say, this is one of the most powerful albums he has ever written. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 15 november 2019 | BMLG Records

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Country - Verschenen op 17 januari 2020 | Capitol Records Nashville

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Despite comparisons to the fashionable-again Fleetwood Mac (which they irresistibly lean all the way into on the dusky title track of their ninth album), Little Big Town resist trends and end up setting them. This time, that means sticking to ballads and mid-tempo treats. Opener "Next To You" is a slow burn that builds to soaring four-part harmonies; that formula also works on the plaintive, piano-driven "Forever and a Night." The foursome should offer a master class for younger country artists tempted by pop crossovers, cowboy-hat posturing and TV talent-show histrionics. The Cliff's Notes version: "Sugar Coat," on which Karen Fairchild deftly communicates the pain of infidelity by refusing to over-sing the chorus—no show-off runs here—even as the Nashville Sound-style strings swell. There's also an art to knowing when you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Mariachi-laced "Wine, Beer Whiskey" is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, which cheer-like chanted lyrics that name-check the MVPs of the back bar: "my friend named Jack, he's got my back…my friend named Tito, he's my amigo." © Shelly Ridenour / Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 3 april 2020 | Warner Music Nashville

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Eric Church has called Ashley McBryde his favorite new artist, and he's sure to love the songwriter's second album, which is stamped with Church hallmarks: clever, poetic lyrics, sizzling guitars and a marked lack of any unnecessary frills. In fact, he might be downright jealous of "One Night Standards," with lines like "How it goes is/the bar closes/there's no king bed covered in roses." McBryde also shares Church's love of outlaw culture on tracks like the honky-tonk "First Thing I Reach For" and headbanging "Voo Doo Doll." And while country songs usually take the gospel as, well, gospel, on "Shut Up Sheila" a grieving McBryde dares to tell bible thumpers where they can shove their thoughts and prayers. The album runs the gamut from bittersweet ballads ("Sparrow") to John Cougar-style hip-shakers ("Hang In There"), haunting O Brother, Where Art Thou? simplicity ("Velvet Red") to the rocking "Martha Divine," which echoes Jason Isbell. Throughout, there's a streak of anger and pain over McBryde's brother's suicide; "Stone" is an absolute heartbreaker. Add it all up, and Never Will cements McBryde's place on Music Row for a long time to come. © Shelly Ridenour / Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 23 augustus 2019 | MCA Nashville

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Reclaiming a derogatory Dust Bowl-era term, Okie is loosely a concept album about human struggle in the Sooner State. But dealing with issues of divisiveness, faith and heartache, it's also pure Americana. Taking a break from the bluegrass that has largely defined his later career, Gill turns to his gentle country singer-songwriter roots: Opener I Don't Wanna Ride the Rails No More has echoes of his days in Pure Prairie League. As a lyricist, he pulls no punches, looking at how pro-choice is still not an easy choice on the sweet-toned What Choice Will You Make and embracing his Christianity on the gently shuffling The Red Words and When My Amy Prays, which finds Gill hitting the spine-shivering high notes. Forever Changed is a frank warning to abusers, while the hymn-like The Price of Regret is a plea for kindness. Gill also pays tribute to his heroes on Nothin' Like a Guy Clark Song and A World Without Haggard, offering up what he learned from each. The music is mellow, but the messages are deep. © Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 1 november 1973 | RCA - Legacy

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Country - Verschenen op 1 november 2019 | Vanner Records - RCA Records Label Nashville

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For her seventh album, Miranda Lambert takes an unexpected time warp to the 1980s — and has a helluva lot of fun. With stuttering guitar and video game sound effects, "Mess With My Head" is country Pat Benatar and "Track Record" sounds like it's off a John Hughes soundtrack. Meanwhile, the staccato sass of "White Trash" and sweet optimism of "Bluebird" would've fit right in on Country FM, circa 1985. There is no shortage of Lambert's patented confidence on the swaggering "It All Comes Out in the Wash," swamp-bluesy "Holy Water" and "Way Too Pretty for Prison" — a woozy duet with Maren Morris that jokes about killing a cheating husband and includes a chain gang call-and-response. She unleashes her full vocal power on hard-charging rager "Locomotive" and winks at Brothers Osborne's "Tequila Again" with the liquor love song "Tequila Does." But on closer "Dark Bars," Lambert shows that maybe her tough-girl image gets heavy to carry — revealing that while she's "not in pain, not on pills," she can't quit looking for trouble in all the wrong places. © Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 6 maart 2020 | Warner Records

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Brandy Clark's third album opens with a stunner: "I'll Be the Sad Song," a ballad carried by sweeping strings and melancholy trumpet. It's a little bit country, a little bit Dusty in Memphis, and a whole new style of Americana. Credit goes not just to Clark, whose songwriting has long been smarter than most. Producer Jay Joyce layers on instrumentation, much of it courtesy of the Memphis Strings & Horns, that acts as Clark's equal. High-hat clicks and jaunty horns offer a sarcastically joyous counterpoint to the kiss-off lyrics of "Long Walk" ("Take a long walk off a real short pier, take a cinderblock with you as a souvenir"). Sad piano and buried-deep bass imbue the regrets of "Apologies." Flute, of all things, adds mischief to the delightful Randy Newman duet "Bigger Boat." There's plenty of dark humor as well as exceedingly human pain, as on "Pawn Shop"—starring an old guitar as metaphor for tarnished dreams—and the lush "Can We Be Strangers," with Clark sighing "I don't want to hate you or even care enough to." © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Country - Verschenen op 2 augustus 2019 | Hickman Holler Records - RCA Records

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Country - Verschenen op 24 januari 2020 | Paradise of Bachelors

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Country in het magazine
  • Kenny Rogers' musical legacy
    Kenny Rogers' musical legacy The star of country music passed away on the 20th of March 2020, leaving behind an enormous discography that included not only country music, but that spanned pop, rock, jazz and easy listening as ...
  • Cowgirl Supergroup
    Cowgirl Supergroup Three elves holding hands in the middle of a forest and looking to the sky with a sense of determination; the cover of the latest Pistol Annies album is rather puzzling, as is the title, Interstate...
  • Cash Behind Bars
    Cash Behind Bars In 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and Johnny Cash discovered the stage of the San Quentin State Prison.
  • In the name of the lord
    In the name of the lord With his deep bass voice Josh Turner has steered his latest album towards the world of gospel.
  • Desperately creative
    Desperately creative Country has always enjoyed a faithful fan base. Although the genre's golden age has since moved on from honkytonks and the Texas of the 1950s, it is hard to rival the charm of Eric Church.
  • A tender tribute
    A tender tribute As a musician, an actor, a businessman and a Texan – if not American – icon, Willie Nelson once again proves with this 68th studio album that he isn’t done yet.
  • Pure country
    Pure country When she’s not publishing records under her own name, Dawn Landes has fun with people as varied as Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Norah Jones, Will Oldham, Andrew Bird and even Laurent Voulzy!
  • Aaron Lee Tasjan : another freaky troubadour that we love !
    Aaron Lee Tasjan : another freaky troubadour that we love ! "How could I compare myself to the Beatles? They changed the world and I can't even change a tire..." Aaron Lee Tasjan is quite lucid - and humurous - about his obsession with the Fab Four.
  • Shooter Jennings : C.O.U.N.T.R.Y is the real thing !
    Shooter Jennings : C.O.U.N.T.R.Y is the real thing ! What future is there for you, if not music, when your parents are Waylon Jennings and Jessie Colter?
  • Amanda Shires rocks and pops the champagne !
    Amanda Shires rocks and pops the champagne ! Amanda Shires is part of the generation that walks in the footsteps of Waylon Jennings and other outlaws. A kind of New Wave built upon the careers of Jason Isbell (her husband), Chris Stapleton, S...