Music reviews

The Very Best of Travis Tritt – Travis Tritt
Way back in 1989, a fellow from Marietta, Ga., put out his first radio single, “Country Club.” That single’s success, along with the stellar debut album of the same name, put Travis Tritt in league with other great newcomers of ’89, including Clint Black and Garth Brooks. Some 18 years later, the Georgia star has racked up an impressive stack of hit songs and million-selling CDs.

The Very Best of Travis Tritt is a fantastic compilation of 20 of the singer’s best tracks. This Rhino set includes the aforementioned debut single, as well as familiar favorites “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive,” “Foolish Pride,” “Anymore” and “Where Corn Don’t Grow.” If you missed out on the hits of Tritt in the ’90s, this CD is just the ticket. What a ride down the memory expressway! A

Little Bit of Life – Craig Morgan
Kingston Springs, Tenn.’s Craig Morgan is a dedicated family man with four children and four dogs, and his all-time favorite CD is “Rose Colored Glasses” crooner John Conlee’s Greatest Hits. Morgan, 41, has just delivered a new album that reflects his passion for a country life, and it could become the favorite album of many.

This fourth Morgan CD has more of the all-American flair that garnered the former Army Ranger two No. 1 hits and sold a brigade of copies of his last disc, My Kind of Livin’. When you name a song after a tractor brand (“International Harvester”), you’re sure to appeal to the blue-collar crowd. “I Am” includes the lyrics “Just like you, baseball and apple pie.” Morgan is proving that country can still be about the country. B-

Here and Now – Darryl Worley
With a bunch of radio hits under his belt (“I Miss My Friend,” “Awful Beautiful Life”), a marriage gone kaput and a new Fabio-inspired haircut, Darryl Worley is off to try his hand at the independent record scene with his fifth record.

Worley’s debut for 903 Music (a label founded by Neal McCoy) features 13 songs recorded between trips to visit American troops fighting the War on Terror. Here and Now has the variety one would expect from the 42-year-old Tennessean. Some of the best tracks include “Jumping Off the Wagon,” “Party Song” and “Whisky Makes the World Go Round.” B

Sonny James – Capitol Collectors Series
With a nickname like “The Southern Gentleman,” 77-year-old Sonny James made his mark on Nashville in his own, personable Dixie manner. The Hackleburg, Ala., native was one of the biggest hit makers in country music throughout the 1960s and ’70s. James was honored with an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006, receiving praise from, among others, Kix Brooks, who said, “This is an artist who really dominated his time in history.” During the two decades of his reign, James spent more time at No. 1 than any other artist (57 total weeks on top).

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That domination is showcased in this new 20-track Capitol set, which begins with his trademark nine-week No. 1 smash – the first-ever country crossover – “Young Love.” “I’ll Never Find Another You” sounds as good as it did in 1967. Other James favorites ready for a good spin include “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Empty Arms” and “You’re the Only World I Know.” A-

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