The big news this week in country releases, and in all album releases in general, is LeAnn Rimes' latest, I Need You, which seems certain to continue her string of platinum albums.
Other releases for Tuesday include the debut from Nashville singer/songwriter Leslie Satcher, a new one from retro-bluegrass outfit Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, the first solo album by bluegrass luminary Keith Little and the latest from Claire Lynch.
Collections spotlighting Melba Montgomery and Webb Pierce and a live album from fiddler Doug Kershaw round out new country releases.
LeAnn Rimes has become not only a national, but an international phenomenon of late, charting in the top ten in the U.K., while climbing the U.S. charts once again with the title track and first single from her new album, "I Need You" (RealAudio excerpt).
Rimes has scored five platinum albums in a row, and I Need You looks set to be number six. The 18-year-old country sensation has won two Grammy Awards and appeared in the hit film "Coyote Ugly," for which she recorded the hit single version of Diane Warren's "Can't Fight the Moonlight."
That track is featured here, along with nine others, including Rimes' duet with Elton John, "Written in the Stars."
Satcher, a Texas songwriter who has written hit tracks for Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack and other country artists, is putting out her debut album this week on Warner Brothers Nashville. Love Letters also includes one dynamic cover Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" among its 11 tracks. Satcher's original songs are distinctive and her striking, smoky vocal style is likely to attract much attention.
Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show, who have become known for their reverent re-creation of a '50s-style bluegrass band, from their style of dress to their performances to recording with a single vintage microphone, release the follow-up to their self-titled debut on Rebel Records on Tuesday, entitled In Full Color. The record features 13 tracks of originals and standards, including "Misery Loves Company," " The Day I Met an Angel" and "Since You've Gone Away."
Bluegrass label Copper Creek Records has two new offerings this week, Keith Little's solo debut record, Distant Land To Roam and Claire Lynch's Out in the Country. Little is a well-known and accomplished bluegrass musician who has performed with Ricky Skaggs and the Country Gentlemen, and his record includes three original songs among its 12 tracks. The album also features new material by Lynch, whose own record follows on the heels of last year's Love Light. Lynch was voted Female Vocalist of the Year in 1997 by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Greatest Hits label Classic World Productions, Inc. is spotlighting '60s honkytonk legend Melba Montgomery this week, with Golden Moments, a collection featuring such songs as "Jambalaya," "Pass Me By" and "He Still Thinks I Care."
Webb Pierce, another honkytonk legend, also receives a greatest hits collection this week, courtesy of MCA Nashville. The Millennium Collection: The Best of Webb Pierce is a 12 song collection that explores Webb's classic work from the '50s and '60s, including such tracks as "Wondering" (RealAudio excerpt), "In the Jailhouse Now" and "Honky Tonk Song."
Also coming out is a live album from fiddling favorite Doug Kershaw, also known as the Ragin' Cajun. Still Cajun After All These Years features a performance recorded late last year at The Lake of the Torches Casino in Wisconsin.