Easy Picks: Country/Roots

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Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson

Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

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Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is the follow-up to Sturgill Simpson's critically acclaimed debut, High Top Mountain. The album title - an allusion to Ray Charles groundbreaking 1962 record, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music - hints at the psychedelic sounds found within. Compared to Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, Simpson explores a more progressive side of outlaw country in his wholly unique and captivating second album.
Sturgill Simpson
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Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

Traveller

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Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A (with additional production at The Castle and Blackbird Studio), Traveller was produced by Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and recorded by Vance Powell (Jack White). In addition to renditions of Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and Don Sampson’s “Was It 26,” the album features twelve original songs, including fan-favorite “Sometimes I Cry.”
Chris Stapleton
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Dylan, Cash & The Nashville Cats
Bob Dylan bucked executives at his record label and surprised his fans when he came to Nashville in 1966 to record his classic album Blonde on Blonde. Working with the city's unmatched session musicians, Dylan produced a rock & roll masterpiece and went on to record two more albums there. Dylan's embrace of Nashville and its musicians the Nashville Cats inspired many other artists, among them Neil Young, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen, to follow him to Music City. Around the same time, Johnny Cash was recruiting folk and rock musicians including Dylan to appear on his groundbreaking network television show, The Johnny Cash Show, shot at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Dylan, Cash & The Nashville Cats
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Sam Outlaw

Sam Outlaw

Angeleno

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Sam Outlaw is a young country singer living in Los Angeles. His new LP ‘Angeleno’ is a collection of pedal steel-drenched instant country classics, rooted in West Coast cool and Southern California country rock. Outlaw (his mother’s maiden name) is leading the charge in SoCal’s revived country scene, and in fact enlisted LA roots royalty Ry Cooder and his son Joachim Cooder to produce and play on the album.
Sam Outlaw
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Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

Django & Jimmie

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Helmed by Nelson's longtime producer, collaborator and friend Buddy Cannon, Django and Jimmie premieres 14 brand-new studio recordings including: "Django and Jimmie," a dual tribute to jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers, country music's mythic "Singing Brakeman"; the reflective and meditative "Live This Long"; "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash," an homage to country music's original Man in Black featuring guest vocals from Bobby Bare; a sublime interpretation of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"; and the future outlaw country classic "Unfair Weather Friend," written by rising songsmiths Marla Cannon-Goodman (Buddy Cannon's daughter) and Ward Davis.
Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard
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Honeyhoney

Honeyhoney

3

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The third full-length release from L.A.-based duo HONEYHONEY, '3' is an album born from fascination with the sweet and the sleazy, the light and dark, the danger and the magic. Since Ben Jaffe and Suzanne Santo released the critically-acclaimed 'Billy Jack' in 2011, they've kept on the road, growing their fan base tenfold both at home and internationally.
Honeyhoney
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Lucinda Williams
The new album from Lucinda Williams, Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone. Produced by Tom Overby, Greg Leisz and Lucinda Williams, Recorded and Mixed by Dave Bianco, Mastered by Joe Gastwirt.
Lucinda Williams
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Otis Gibbs
While writing the songs on this record, I found myself thinking an awful lot about my father and how he encouraged me to do everything I could to pursue a creative life. He rode a Harley Davidson chopper, sang along to Jerry Lee Lewis records and didn't take anything from anyone. The only job he ever enjoyed was driving a tow truck, but he couldn't support the family on just 85 cents an hour. He was convinced he d finally hit the jackpot when he got a job throwing 100 pound bags of starch into boxcars for $1.85 an hour. 30 years later he retired with a worn out back, a bad shoulder and a cheap certificate in a cardboard frame. He once told me they were his, Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth.
Otis Gibbs
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Paul Thorn
Too Blessed To Be Stressed stakes out new territory for the popular roots-rock songwriter and performer. In the past, I've told stories that were mostly inspired by my own life, the former prizefighter and literal son of a preacher man offers. This time, I've written 10 songs that express more universal truths, and I ve done it with a purpose: to make people feel good. I don't think I could have written anthemic songs like this if I hadn't made my last album, Thorn says of 2012's What the Hell is Goin On? Like 2010's autobiographical Pimps & Preachers, it was among its year's most played CDs on Americana radio and contributed to Thorn's rapidly growing fan base. And Thorn followed that airplay success with his current AAA-radio hit version of Doctor My Eyes from April 2014's Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne. It helps that those big vocal hooks on Too Blessed To Be Stressed are being reinforced by the sound of Thorn's flexible and dynamic band, as they have been doing for years in concert. During their two decades in the club, theater and festival trenches, the four-piece and their frontman have garnered a reputation for shows that ricochet from humor to poignancy to knock-out rock n roll. These guys really bring my songs to life, says Thorn. A lot of albums sound like they're made by a singer with bored studio musicians. My albums sound they're played by a real blood-and-guts band because that s what we are. And when we get up on stage, people hear and see that.
Paul Thorn
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The Once

The Once

Departures

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Named for a unique Newfoundland phrase that means "imminently," now is indeed the time for The Once. Decorated with awards in Canada, they were nominated for a JUNO in 2012 for the Group: Roots & Traditional Album of the Year and have won 4 Music Newfoundland Awards, 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards and the 2011 ECMA Group Recording of the Year. The Once are about to embark on an amazing journey, spending much of the upcoming year touring the world with chart-topping artist, Passenger.
The Once
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Shooter Jennings
A 5 song EP of songs written as a tribute to his friend George Jones.
Shooter Jennings
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Shelby Lynne
Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Shelby Lynne's breakthrough album, this deluxe edition of 2000's I Am Shelby Lynne features the remastered, full length album, plus six previously unreleased bonus tracks from the original sessions. Also included in the packaging is a DVD of a full-length concert at Los Angeles' House of Blues, previously unreleased, and filmed during the I Am Shelby tour in 2000.
Shelby Lynne
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Tim Mcgraw

Tim Mcgraw

Sundown Heaven Town

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Sundown Heaven Town is the 13th album from prolific American country musician Tim McGraw. He worked again with long-term producer Byron Gallimore -- who has teamed up with McGraw on his previous 12 releases -- and there are contributions from Kid Rock, Catherine Dunn, and his wife Faith Hill. The record includes singles "Lookin' for That Girl" and "Meanwhile Back at Mama's."
Tim Mcgraw
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Sunny Sweeney

Sunny Sweeney

Provoked

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True to her Texas honky-tonk roots, Sunny Sweeney has never been a singer of what you'd call soft country songs the kind you might turn to for easy comfort and or quiet Sunday afternoons with the family. Hell, you can tell just by the titles of her first two albums Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame and Concrete that she reaches straight for the hard stuff. So when this woman sees fit to name her third album Provoked, you better believe she's not about to start playing coy now. No, this is where the real hurtin starts, and Sweeney's showing no mercy ... least of all to herself.
Sunny Sweeney
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Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver's finest songs prowl (Hard To Be an Outlaw) and punch (Music City USA) with welterweight fury. Evidence: The legendary outlaw's seamless Long in the Tooth. Shaver's first studio album in six years showcases a singular songwriter in absolutely peak form as he unearths his trademark truths around every corner. This is the best album I've ever done, he says.
Billy Joe Shaver
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Look Again To The Wind Johnny Cashs Bitter Tears
Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited 50th Anniversary of Cash's Landmark Album Produced by Joe Henry, featuring Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Bill Miller and more
Look Again To The Wind Johnny Cashs Bitter Tears
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Duca

Duca

Earls Of Leicester

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The Earls of Leicester is an all-star band, punningly named for Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, whose popular and pioneering bluegrass inspired every one of the musicians here paying them tribute. Jerry Douglas was inspired to play Dobro because of legendary Flatt & Scruggs dobroist Josh Graves, and Johnny Warren, the Earls' fiddle player is the son of long-time Foggy Mountain Boys fiddler Paul Warren. Every instrument and every vocal hark back to that classic sound. 'This record is something I've been waiting my whole life to do,' veteran Dobro master Jerry Douglas says of this album.
Duca
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Shovels & Rope

Shovels & Rope

Swimmin' Time

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Swimmin' Time is Shovels & Rope's follow-up to their acclaimed 2012 album O' Be Joyful. "Birmingham" (the number one song on American Songwriter's year-end list) and the rest of O' Be Joyful put Shovels & Rope on the larger stage in many ways from an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman to an acclaimed set on PBS' Austin City Limits and festival slots at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and ACL.
Shovels & Rope
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Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves

Same Trailer Different Park

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After listening to Same Trailer Different Park, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter's first album for Mercury Records, it's clear that this is a girl who has something to say. A true language artist, Kacey nimbly spins webs of words to create the quirky puns, shrewd metaphors, and steely ironies that fill the record.
Kacey Musgraves
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Shooter Jennings
Make no mistake about it, Shooter Jennings has never been one to allow expectations, boundaries, genre or ideals dictate the direction of his art. From the moment he burst onto the scene, it was clear that he had a style and a vision all his own that would separate him from the leagues of cookie-cutter artists out there.
Shooter Jennings
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Mount Moriah

Mount Moriah

Miracle Temple

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Fiercely contemporary yet rich with classic influences, Mount Moriah's Miracle Temple sports bigger arrangements, louder guitars, bolder vocals, and more soulful rhythms than their acclaimed self-titled debut. Through their artful personal storytelling, the band develops a piercing portrait of a "New South" where progressive traditions are still fitfully breaking free from conservative ones.
Mount Moriah
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The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Making their Severn Records debut, the Fabulous Thunderbirds mark a new beginning with On the Verge, a departure for the blues rockers as they explore their soulful side. Front front man Kim Wilson notes, ''we're defining our own genre.'' With On the Verge the T-Birds have crafted a fresh sound, one that's sure to satisfy diehard fans while bringing new blood into the fold of the band's faithful legion.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
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Ashley Monroe
Like a Rose was a long time coming. Monroe has been creating music for more than half of her life attracting along the way kudos from such music world giants as Dolly Parton, Guy Clark, Vince Gill and Jack White. Her 2013 full-length album release serves both to fill in the back-story and impart to us who she is today. At times her songs are dead serious, at others utterly hilarious, but always Monroe is an original with a compelling story to share.
Ashley Monroe
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Caitlin Rose

Caitlin Rose

Stand-In

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2013 album from the Country vocalist and former front woman for Nashville Indie band Save Macaulay. Her vocal performance and lyrics have led to comparisons to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, and Iris DeMent. Claire Suddath of Time Magazine named Catilin's debut album, Own Side Now, one of the Top 10 Albums of 2011, ranking it at #7.
Caitlin Rose
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The Mavericks

The Mavericks

In Time

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2013 release, the first album in 10 years from the reunited Country/Rock outfit led by Raul Malo. Again drawing on myriad influences - from Buck Owens' tonk to Roy Orbison's heartbreak, Ravel's eroticism to Buena Vista Social Club's infectious rhythms, Patsy Cline's brazen emotion and that little Mavericks' magic.
The Mavericks