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10 New Albums Worth Checking Out

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        COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS - Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Watch this one-of-a-kind video of Hollywood's greatest leading ladies!

*----------- TEST YOUR COUNTRY MUSIC KNOWLEDGE -----------*

Q. Which country guitarist did the song 'Starry, Starry 
Night' or also known as 'Vincent' ? 

*------------------ Answer At The End ---------------------*


1894 John Lair, founder of the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, 
born in Livingston, Kentucky  

1924 Charles Everett Lilly, of the bluegrass brother duo 
the Lilly Brothers, born in Clear Creek, West Virginia 
1955 Keith Whitley born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky 

1961 Michelle Wright born in Morpeth, Ontario, Canada  
1950 Eddy Arnold's Top Five single "Cuddle Buggin' Baby" 

1972 Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Eleven Roses" goes to #1 

1978 Margo Smith's "It Only Hurts for a Little While" 
goes to #1 
1972 Alabama performed their first paid performance at 
Canyonland Park, Alabama 
1966 Slim Willit, age 45, died 
1982 DeFord Bailey, age 82, died in Nashville 
1930 Jimmie Rodgers recorded "Pistol Packin' Papa" 

1947 Merle Travis recorded "Fat Gal"  

1947 Merle Travis recorded "I Like My Chicken Fryin' 

1947 Merle Travis recorded the Top Ten single "Merle's 
Boogie Woogie" 
1990 Hank Williams, Jr. married Mary Jane Thomas, a 
former Hawaiian Tropic model, in Montana 

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                    Ricky Skaggs Records
            Bluegrass Versions of His Country Hits

Ricky Skaggs has recorded bluegrass versions of his best
-known country hits for The High Notes, a new album to 
be sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel Country Stores. 
With roots in bluegrass, Skaggs was one of the most suc-
cessful artists in mainstream country music during the 
'80s. The 12 tracks on The High Notes include 10 of the 
No. 1 hits he first recorded for Epic Records. Among the 
titles are "Crying My Heart Out Over You," "Heartbroke," 
"Highway 40 Blues," "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could," 
"Cajun Moon" and "Country Boy." The new CD will be avail-
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            +--- COUNTRY STARS NEW ALBUMS ---+

Lady Antebellum Among 10 New Albums Worth Checking Out

Lady AntebellumWe're about halfway through the year, 
so before I dive into another pile of new CDs, I'm 
moving a big ol' stack to the file cabinet -- except 
for these 10 albums released earlier this year, which 
I'd recommend to music fans with an adventurous ear. 
I have noted one of my favorite tracks from each 
selection, in case you want to download some tunes.

Matthew Barber, Ghost Notes (Outside Music)
His rich vocals drew me in first, but now it's the 
songs that stick in my head. He's vulnerable without 
being whiny, and he knows that you need a good melody 
to pull it off. This is a mellow record, perfect for 
quiet nights at home. Choice track: "Easily Bruised."

Hayes Carll, Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)
The drawl in his singing voice is not an exaggeration 
and he's funny without coming across as a smart-aleck. 
Even better, the album is well-produced, but not over-
produced -- and it's my favorite country album of the 
year so far. Choice track: "Girl Downtown."

Kathleen Edwards, Asking For Flowers (Rounder)
On her third album, I get the feeling that she's still 
not afraid of confrontation. Still, she lets her guard 
down when she writes about losing a loved one, somehow 
capturing that tricky moment when you don't really 
know what to say. Choice track: "Scared at Night."

Griffin House, Flying Upside Down (Nettwerk)
His music sounds so effortless, like he grabs a guitar 
and everything falls into place. While his straight-
forward writing doesn't lean on big words, his lyrics 
always impress me anyway. And I like the passion in 
his vocals. Choice track: "Better Than Love."

Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum (Capitol Nashville)
I dig the distinctive singing and melodies, but the 
production is a bit thick. Still, I feel like this 
is a fresh approach to country music. Their first 
single, "Love Don't Live Here," really took off, 
and I can't wait to see what they do next. Choice 
track: "I Run to You."

Shelby Lynne, Just a Little Lovin' (Lost Highway)
Her voice is magnificently controlled throughout this 
tribute to Dusty Springfield, but there is equal power 
in the breaths and the lulls. And you can hear every 
single note of music. Brilliant work. Choice track: 
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me."

Kathy Mattea, Coal (Captain Potato)
Always drawn to narrative songs, this West Virginia 
native delves into her roots, recalling life among 
the coalmines. Her warm voice remains inflected with 
wisdom, while Marty Stuart lends a bluegrass touch. 
Choice track: "Green Rolling Hills."

Tift Merritt, Another Country (Fantasy)
A lot of influences converge here: North Carolina 
roots, a long French vacation and studio sessions 
in Topanga Canyon, California. A sunny-sounding 
album with undertones of sadness and frustration 
will get to me every time. Choice track: "Hopes 
Too High."

Justin Rutledge, Man Descending (Six Shooter)
A twinge of melancholy runs through the album, 
emphasized by the subdued musicians backing him. 
His voice seems on the verge of collapsing into 
sobs, but with these somber songs, it works. 
Bummer songs are beautiful too. Choice track: 
"Everyone's in Love."

The Weepies, Hideaway (Nettwerk)
Whenever I listen to this album, the last year 
of my life unfolds before me, with all its awkward 
moments and small victories. If you feel like you're 
constantly trying to find a foothold in the world, 
here's your soundtrack. Choice track: "Antarctica." 



A. Chet Atkins

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