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Country - Released May 8, 2020 | Warner Records

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Country - Released March 6, 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 - Released August 24, 2019 | Warner Records

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Country - Released October 19, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released October 12, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released October 12, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released August 17, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released August 17, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released July 27, 2018 | Warner Records

Talk of This Town is the debut full-length effort from Northern Irish country singer/songwriter Catherine McGrath. Recorded in both Nashville and London, the release is composed of rich acoustic guitar and banjo, electronic pop-infused percussion, and bright vocal melodies. Produced with Steve Robson (One Direction, Olly Murs), the album was led by the single of the same name. © Rob Wacey /TiVo
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Country - Released June 22, 2018 | Warner Records

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On their third album, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney extend their contemporary poetry. Dan+Shay pays tribute to country pop thanks to the balance found by both men during their collaboration. Sensitive but in no way tedious, they launch Alone Together with a punchy drum intro. Perfectly balanced and catchy country rock music, softened by the two accomplices’ smooth and light vocals. An intimate and imaginary universe transpires from their compositions. Sincere and humble, their stories are those of daily lives anyone can relate to, like in the track Tequila. A Proust madeleine of sorts, in which tequila sneakily replaced the madeleine… Love, at the very least romance, are central themes for Smyers and Mooney. Keeping Score therefore comes as no surprise, halfway between Shay and Kelly Clarkson. A romantic ballad introduced by a piano solo and quickly caught up by the union of two voices that seem to be made for each other. But the duo also preserves the musical heritage of a more traditional country music, highlighted in My Side of the Fence intro with a mandolin and steel guitar. A pop country album that radiates youthful energy and preaches harmony among all beings. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Country - Released June 22, 2018 | Warner Records

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Country - Released April 20, 2018 | Warner Records

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Following her debut where she appeared as the new short-lived bimbo of country pop, Ashley Monroe quickly proved she had a strong personality, at times moving away from the path clearly marked out by Nashville. Indeed, the singer from Knoxville, Tennessee, ended up collaborating with Jack White and his Raconteurs, and even founded the Pistol Annies with Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert. With The Blade, her third album released in 2015, she confirmed her mastery over a large artistic vocabulary, both with her voice and the instruments chosen. Without revolutionising the genre, Monroe put out an album nicely packed up with contemporary country, filled with effective melodies, and most importantly featuring a voice of stunning purity, inspired by two great untouchables, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris… Three years later, Sparrow is the work of a more and more adventurous artist, who never compromises to aim for the top of the charts. Produced by brilliant Dave Cobb who worked with Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Shooter Jennings, Colter Wall, Zac Brown Band and Jason Isbell, this fourth opus takes country music down paths previously walked by the likes of Bobbie Gentry, Glen Campbell, Waylon Jennings, Rick Hall, Shelby Lynne and even early Elton John. In that regard, Sparrow isn’t a current pop country album, but rather an old-style record. Timeless to be exact. Cobb’s work is in fact remarkable in its tendency to blur, even erase any sign of the current era… “To me this record is about acknowledging past hurt, forgiveness and freedom to move forward. The most terrible things that happen to you are the most beautiful songs. That's what I respect the most about music." Here, Ashley Monroe plays the therapy card. And while she does settle some scores with her mother and even herself, and dive back into her younger years, her album is both introspective and able to touch anyone. Because, much like Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack, or even closer, Kacey Musgraves, she is well aware of the emotional potential of this kind of pathos, while always remaining dignified, serene and very classy. This is the main strength of an album that at times doesn’t hold back on violins, but handles them like one would carry nitroglycerin. Highly recommended! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Released April 20, 2018 | Warner Records

Following her debut where she appeared as the new short-lived bimbo of country pop, Ashley Monroe quickly proved she had a strong personality, at times moving away from the path clearly marked out by Nashville. Indeed, the singer from Knoxville, Tennessee, ended up collaborating with Jack White and his Raconteurs, and even founded the Pistol Annies with Angaleena Presley and Miranda Lambert. With The Blade, her third album released in 2015, she confirmed her mastery over a large artistic vocabulary, both with her voice and the instruments chosen. Without revolutionising the genre, Monroe put out an album nicely packed up with contemporary country, filled with effective melodies, and most importantly featuring a voice of stunning purity, inspired by two great untouchables, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris… Three years later, Sparrow is the work of a more and more adventurous artist, who never compromises to aim for the top of the charts. Produced by brilliant Dave Cobb who worked with Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Shooter Jennings, Colter Wall, Zac Brown Band and Jason Isbell, this fourth opus takes country music down paths previously walked by the likes of Bobbie Gentry, Glen Campbell, Waylon Jennings, Rick Hall, Shelby Lynne and even early Elton John. In that regard, Sparrow isn’t a current pop country album, but rather an old-style record. Timeless to be exact. Cobb’s work is in fact remarkable in its tendency to blur, even erase any sign of the current era… “To me this record is about acknowledging past hurt, forgiveness and freedom to move forward. The most terrible things that happen to you are the most beautiful songs. That's what I respect the most about music." Here, Ashley Monroe plays the therapy card. And while she does settle some scores with her mother and even herself, and dive back into her younger years, her album is both introspective and able to touch anyone. Because, much like Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack, or even closer, Kacey Musgraves, she is well aware of the emotional potential of this kind of pathos, while always remaining dignified, serene and very classy. This is the main strength of an album that at times doesn’t hold back on violins, but handles them like one would carry nitroglycerin. Highly recommended! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Country - Released November 3, 2017 | Warner Records

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Country - Released November 3, 2017 | Warner Records

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Country - Released September 22, 2017 | Warner Records

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Country - Released September 22, 2017 | Warner Records

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Country - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Records

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Country - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Records

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Even if he is not from the same generation as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver or Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle is a genuine outlaw, lock, stock and barrel. His attitude chimes with the criticisms that people have levelled against him since he started out: too rock for Nashville, too country for rock. With time, Earle made a name for himself as a great songwriter, full stop - he didn't worry too much about which musical family would adopt him. A disciple and friend of his fellow Texans Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, he was a member of the outlaw band that lived on the margins of Nashville in the Seventies. He is also a perfect Don Juan (seven marriages!), a recovered junky who endured a long descent into hell that took him as far as prison, an actor who has worked on cult series like The Wire or Treme and even a novelist (with a new collection entitled Doghouse Roses and the novel I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive). As much at home in punchy country rock and visceral folk as in bluegrass, genres which he attacks with the heart of a punk and the soul of a committed rebel engaged in all the struggles of America's radical left, the self-proclaimed hardcore troubadour here renders homage to his rebel predecessor, possibly the ultimate outlaw: Waylon Jennings. And the guitars are furious from the off, which is a side of Steve Earle we have not seen for years. From the first strands of So You Wannabe An Outlaw, the first song on the album and the one that gives it its title, the bearded man's country rock intentions are pretty clear. And even more so when we hear, in the midst of this rollocking track, the voice of Willie Nelson! Elsewhere, Earle sings a duet with Miranda Lambert on This is How It Ends, and then does the same with Johnny Bush (author of Whiskey River by Willie Nelson!) on Walkin' in LA. The record leaves us giddy and sweating, covered in dust, knuckles bloodied. Note that the Deluxe Edition contains some choice covers: Ain't No God in Mexico by Billy Joe Shaver, Sister's Coming Home/Down At The Corner Beer Joint by Willie Nelson, The Local Memory also by Willie Nelson and the immense Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way by Waylon Jennings, an outlaw hymn par excellence. © MZ/Qobuz
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Country - Released June 16, 2017 | Warner Records

Steve Earle has had a problematic relationship with country music throughout his career. His roots in the Texas songwriting community and its Nashville annex run deep, but he's never had much use for the strict boundaries of style and decorum that define Music Row. Since he returned to duty in the mid-'90s after a near-fatal bout with drugs and the law, Earle has behaved more like a singer/songwriter or contemporary folk act than a country artist. In many respects, that's fitting given his body of work, but it has also cut him off from some of the qualities that made his early work so memorable as he pushes back on his twangier instincts. Perhaps Earle suddenly became eager to take a look into the past, or he was inspired by the current success of literate country outsiders like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. But for whatever reason, 2017's So You Wannabe an Outlaw is the most explicitly country record Earle has made since his bluegrass set The Mountain in 1999. Thirty-one years after Guitar Town, Earle's approach to making a country album has changed; So You Wannabe an Outlaw sounds rougher, tougher, and more spontaneous, with more than a bit of rock & roll swagger blending in with the fiddle, pedal steel, and twangy guitars. Thematically, the album covers a lot of ground that one would expect from Earle -- troubles with women ("This Is How It Ends" and "Lookin' for a Woman"), hard times ("New from Colorado," "Walkin' in LA"), living on the wrong side of societal expectations ("If Mama Could See Me" and the title cut, which features a vocal cameo from Willie Nelson), and watching fate catch up with your friends ("Goodbye Michelangelo"). Earle doesn't always sound as keenly inspired as he did when he was writing stuff like this in the '80s and '90s, but his craft is, if anything, better, and similarly his voice is showing its age but his phrasing is as smart and dramatically effective as it has ever been. So You Wannabe an Outlaw is something plenty of Steve Earle fans have been wanting for years, a no-excuses country album that updates his breakthrough work, and it's an effort that should please his core audience while also sounding like an album Earle made entirely on his own terms. © Mark Deming /TiVo

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