Less Talk, More Music

Play –
Brad Paisley

OK, OK. Brad Paisley is a multi-million-selling hit-maker with a Hollywood starlet wife. But what’s really cool about the West Virginian is he can sure pick and grin, and Play is a 16-track showcase of that talent.

Paisley won his first Grammy in 2008 for “Best Country Instrumental Performance,” and he demonstrates his belief in “more music, less talk” with this mostly instrumental CD. The project features vocal and musical collaborations with B.B. King, Keith Urban (“Start a Band”), Steve Wariner (“More Than Just This Song”) and the late Buck Owens. This is a record you need to definitely get for the rig. A

A Place to Land –
Little Big Town

Kind of like the Jeffersons, Little Big Town is movin’ on up. Once on an independent label, the foursome now find themselves on Capitol Records, which has re-released the indie A Place to Land, now with several more tracks. “There was a shifting of the wind, and we were feeling it around the time we turned the album in,” the group’s Karen Fairchild recalls about the label change. LBT knew it was time to find another deal.

Little Big Town’s musical styling is defined by four-part vocal harmonies. Unlike most vocal groups, Little Big Town does not feature a lead singer but instead rotates lead vocal duties among all four members. This third studio album by Little Big Town includes the hits “I’m With the Band,” “Fine Line” and “Life in a Northern Town.” A top pick from the four new studio tracks is “Good Lord Willing.” The new CD has new artwork for fans, too. B

X –
Trace Adkins

Donald Trump may not have hired him, but that’s not keeping Louisiana native Trace Adkins from recording another stellar CD. For 12 years, the lanky singer has infused country with attitude. This 10th album is a showcase of the Grand Ole Opry member’s extraordinary knack for singing and entertaining.

The inspirational hit single “Muddy Water” features his Apprentice buddy Stephen Baldwin in the music video. “Sweet” turns a commonly used American expression into a tight and particularized country tune. A big Civil War buff, Adkins shines on the Confederate-themed “Til the Last Shot’s Fired,” which features the West Point Cadet Glee Club. And of course Adkins, 47, rocks out on “Better Than I Thought It’d Be.” A+

Why Wait –
Kristy Lee Cook

Kristy Lee Cook first caught the nation’s eye as a member of the seventh season of American Idol. The Oregon native has since been busy performing with the other top 10 finalists on the American Idols Live! tour. She now also spends a lot of time in Music City, working on her budding country music career.

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Cook’s “15 Minutes of Shame” single was released as the leadoff for her studio album. The single debuted at No. 58 on the Country Charts (a week before its release). Why Wait was produced by former country artist-turned-producer Brett James. The producer and his client worked up a nice blend of 10 tracks, including “Not Tonight,” “Like My Mother Does,” the title track and a remake of “God Bless the USA.” B

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