It's no news that I'm old-school when it comes to country music, but I'm not one to sulk in days long gone when there is always something new and wonderful to be offered.
1. Jamey Johnson “Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran”—With producers like Buddy Cannon and Dale Dodson, and collaborations with Merle, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, and Emmy Lou Harris (just to name a few), this album is a piece of magic. Not to mention, the classic, stellar songs.
2. Little Big Town “Tornado”—Their harmonies are ever immaculate, and when those four sing, angels dance and raise their hallelujah hands. This album showcases that magic in divine versatility. It is raw, fun, and real. There’s not a song I don’t love. It maintains their southern roots, and taps into rock, gospel, and soul influences.
3. Greg Bates, self-titled EP –The boy can sing. You can hear Jackson and Strait influences in his sound, and the radio-friendly production is not washed-out and overproduced. I dig it. I have a soft spot for those who can keep it old-school and attract a new generation.
4. Hunter Hayes, self-titled album –This kid has got to be one of the most talented young artists on the planet. He not only can sing your face off, he writes, played every single instrument that you hear on his album, and is an outstanding performer. I see a long bright career for him with screaming girls around the globe.