Country Hitmakers Hal Ketchum And Jeff Carson Return

Wayne 'The Train' Hancock issues new Bloodshot CD.

Hal Ketchum's first album of new material in more than two years leads this week's new album releases. Jeff Carson also returns after a lengthy absence, and honky-tonker Wayne Hancock makes his Bloodshot Records debut.

Ketchum, whose last album was the well-received Awaiting Redemption (1999), releases Lucky Man, with 12 new songs, on Curb. "Don't Let Go" is the first single. Ketchum sings duets with Dolly Parton ("Two of the Lucky Ones") and Lisa Brokop ("Keep Mom and Dad in Love"). Rodney Crowell produced the album.

Ketchum first drew wide attention with his second album, 1991's Past the Point of Rescue. The title song and "Small Town Saturday Night" both reached #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Carson's last CD was 1997's Butterfly Kisses; his self-titled debut, released two years earlier, yielded the #1 and #2 Billboard hits "Not on Your Love" and "The Car." His new Real Life, on Curb, was produced by Justin Niebank and songwriter Max T. Barnes, who contributes the song "What's Not to Love." Carson co-wrote two cuts, "Scars and All" (which was the first single) and "Until We Fall Back in Love Again." The album's title song is the current single release.

Wayne "The Train" Hancock has been attracting devotees with his full-bore honky-tonk sound since his first album, 1995's Thunderstorms and Neon Signs. Now he releases A-Town Blues, on Chicago alt-country label Bloodshot Records. Lloyd Maines produced the CD; its 12 tracks include the title cut, "Railroad Blues," "Cow Cow Boogie" and "Miller, Jack & Mad Dog."