Some Hearts – Carrie Underwood
On season four of American Idol, Oklahoma girl Carrie Underwood took top honors. This “girl next door” has her debut CD out now, and it’s country, by golly!
Some Hearts will appeal to those who loved Underwood on American Idol as well as those who love a good country album. The pop sensibility comes with such a track as the excellent “Some Hearts,” which features driving guitars, slick production and Carrie rising to a high E. “Wasted” really grabs your attention with a well-written selection that shows off Carrie’s pure voice. That track is followed by the incredibly country “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” A-
Comin’ To Your City – Big & Rich
If ESPN’s College GameDay makes you their opening act, then you must be onto something. John Rich and Big Kenny are doing what Nashville said couldn’t be done, and selling a bunch of CDs to boot.
The guys do their MuzikMafia best on this sophomore disc. “Soul Shaker” employs screaming electric guitars. “Freak Parade” opens the album, and it’s, well, different. “8th of November” features narration by Kris Kristofferson, and it’s about a Vietnam vet who survived an ambush on that day in 1965. “I Pray for You,” a song from John’s brief solo career, is revived. This album won’t be in the running for “Album of the Year,” but Big & Rich will be bigger – and richer – regardless. C
Reba #1′s – Reba McEntire
From “Can’t Even Get the Blues” in 1982 to “Somebody” in 2004, Reba McEntire has been delivering No. 1 songs for three decades. Her name and voice are synonymous with country music. “The Queen of Country Music” now marks that career by turning in a compilation of her No. 1 singles, plus two brand new recordings.
Reba #1′s is a celebration of a career that has included 33 No. 1 hits, 29 albums, multiple awards and countless shows and performances. Classics like “You Lie,” “Somebody Should Leave,” “Rumor Has It,” “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” “And Still,” and the new single “You’re Gonna Be” make this 35-song disc well worth the buy. Now give us 35 more hits, Reba Nell! A+
Jerry Reed Live, Still! – Jerry Reed
America would have really missed something if Jerry Reed hadn’t wheeled in for a delivery. The guitarist-songwriter tore up the ’60s through the early ’80s with his memorable story songs, “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “Amos Moses,” and “She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft.” Even Elvis Presley made a Reed composition a classic, “Guitar Man.” Of course, Reed became a trucking hero with his portrayal of “Cledus Snow” in 1978′s Smokey and the Bandit.
Amazingly, it’s taken until now for Reed to record his first-ever all-live album of eight of his greatest hits. There are also two new songs, “A Brand New Me” and “Father Time and Gravity.” This disc also marks Reed’s first solo album in six years. At 68, Reed may not have the delivery he once had, but he’s still a funny, unique character that makes us long for a return of “Snowman” delivering Coors on the big screen. B-