cashALBUM SPOTLIGHT: JOHNNY CASH, American VI: Ain’t No Grave by Billy Altman—Ain't No Grave is a powerful summation of Johnny Cash’s soul-defining battle, and the guiding light it emanates shines on brightly for all to witness, and to learn from.

bartonBARTON CARROLL, Together You and I—If there are no har-de-har-har moments on Together You and I, there is, at root, hope arising from a welter of abiding psychological and emotional afflictions. Rather than see these as debilitating, and cause for all hope being lost, Carroll has found ways around them, however bruised his heart may be. In the end, a bruised heart is better than no heart at all, and the possibility looms of it being fully healed.

cooganANNA COOGAN, The Nocturnal Among UsFor all its revelations of emotional devastation, The Nocturnal Among Us is not the downer it might seem from this appraisal. It’s more thought provoking in its ruthless examination of the whys and wherefores of things coming apart, of people disconnecting; and the subtlety of the arrangements and JD Foster’s evocative soundscapes offer a beautiful, compelling backdrop for the various dramas under investigation.

honey-dewdropsTHE HONEY DEWDROPS, If The Sun Will ShineAny way you cut it the Dewdrops have something unique and oftimes mesmerizing going for them in their plaintive harmonies, easygoing rhythms, evocative arrangements, well-crafted original songs, and a genuineness in their approach that can’t be learned in school but must flow from a life affirming need to connect with other like-minded souls. Like Honey Don’t, they hearken back to a gentler time, without sounding antiquated in the least.

summertownSUMMERTOWN ROAD, Summertown RoadWhile the progressive wing of bluegrass awaits whatever wonders will ensue from the release of the Punch Brothers’ second album (apparently in June), the traditional world finds its music enriched by the debut of Summertown Road, the pride of Ashland, KY. Though the band members—Jack Hicks, Bo Isaacs, Jonathan Rigsby, Randy Thomas—has been together as Summertown Road only since mid-2008, all have impressive resumes, and, with an age range spanning the mid-20s to the mid-50s, a wide range of influences coalescing to make their original material musically rich and lyrically striking.

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Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
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