An eclectic musical lineup is represented in this week's new country releases, from Gillian Welch's freshly-minted ancient tones to Junior Brown's flamboyant guit-steel wizardry, to Cyndi Thomson's intense debut.
Welch's new Time (The Revelator) continues her explorations into a modern-day retro spin on country's history. Produced by her musical partner David Rawlings on Acony records, Time includes such cuts as "Elvis Presley Blues," "My First Lover" and "Red Clay Halo."
Newcomer Thomson has drawn considerable notice for her first single "What I Really Meant to Say," which topped the Billboard country singles sales chart and is included on her debut work My World on Capitol Nashville. The torchy singer co-wrote eight of the 11 cuts here.
Brown, once known for his novelty songs, turns his attention to more serious material on his new Mixed Bag CD on Curb records with such songs as "Little Town Square" and "Ain't Gonna Work Today." He is again accompanied by his wife Tanya Rae Brown on guitar and vocals and by such Nashville studio legends as pianist "Pig" Robbins, drummer Buddy Harman and bassist Bob Moore.
Singer-songwriter Shawn Camp gained fame by penning such hits as "Two Pina Coladas" for Garth Brooks and "How Long Gone" for Brooks & Dunn. He also worked as a sideman for such artists as Alan Jackson and Shelby Lynne and put together Trisha Yearwood's first road band. He has recorded two earlier albums (only one of which was released) and his new Lucky Silver Dollar CD on Skitterbit Records was co-produced by Brooks' producer Allen Reynolds.
Hot new country singer Blake Shelton debuts with a self-titled album on Warner Bros. Records. It was produced by the great songwriter Bobby Braddock, who himself wrote "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," among others. Shelton's song "Austin" from the album is giving him a very fast start. Braddock contributes two tunes, "I Thought There Was Time" and "Same Old Song."
Nanci Griffith continues her string of delicate country-folk songs with her new Elektra album Clock Without Hands.