Tracy Byrd's seventh studio album, another soundtrack from the O Brother gang of artists, Dale Watson's "suicide album" and 3 of Hearts' debut effort lead the country album releases this week.
Byrd's Ten Rounds on RCA refers to ten rounds of tequila, not surprising for a veteran country singer who champions traditional music. The album features his duet with Mark Chesnutt on "A Good Way to Get on My Bad Side" and a new version of Byrd's hit "Keeper of the Stars."
Down From the Mountain, on Lost Highway Records, is a live recording of a concert by the participants on the earlier O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Emmylou Harris, Dan Tyminski, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, the Cox Family and others performed at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in May 2000 for this recording and a documentary film of the same name. It includes the late John Hartford's last public performances.
Dale Watson's new album, Every Song I Write Is for You, on Audium, is a collection of 14 songs Watson wrote to his late fiancée. Consumed by depression over her death in a car wreck, on December 28 he took a potentially lethal quantity of alcohol, Sominex and Benadryl. His road manager discovered the dazed Watson in his Austin hotel room and took him to the Brackenridge Hospital emergency room. Watson later described the days leading up to his overdose as being, "Like a skipping record every morning I'd wake up and relive the day [of my fiancée's accident]." He underwent counseling and devoted his efforts to this album.
3 of Hearts is the self-titled RCA Nashville debut of a new pop-leaning trio of teen girl singers, who are receiving a media blitz. They've been pictured on several million Kellogg's cereal boxes, featured in teen magazines, and are now on a tour of Wal-Mart stores.
Re-issues this week include works by Tex Ritter and Kenny Rogers. Ritter's Sing, Cowboy Sing on the ASV label includes such familiar Ritter material as "Get Along, Little Dogies" and "Bill the Bar Fly." Laserlight's Kenny Rogers includes such Rogers hits as "Reuben James" and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town."