This section is new to Country Pulse. We wanted to share reviews of CD's as well as information about upcoming releases. Enjoy this new column, and we would love to take reviews should you want to share with our readers.
Please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS IS AMERICA - Single Release
Country music sensation Ashton Shepherd is back and stronger than ever with her latest single “This is America.” It is the lead-off single from her forthcoming CD which should come out later this summer. An Alabama native, Ashton was the sole writer of “This is America” and it is the quintessential patriotic song and a perfect tribute to America.
Unlike many of her female peers in the country genre, Ashton continues to stay true to who is as an artist, thus showcasing her traditional country roots. Her stunning vocals on this tune are reminiscent to those of such country songstresses as Reba McEntire and Chely Wright, where the listener can easily recall “The Bumper of My SUV.”
Fans and listeners can easily find themselves relating to the song’s moving and heartfelt lyrics.
“This is America” is one of the best country songs by a female artist released this year. It is lyrically and sonically powerful. It would be a true pity if this beautiful song does not make the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Airplay charts, so fans need to start requesting it immediately to their radio stations.
Ashton deserves a standing ovation for a job well done on one of the best and boldest vocal performances of her career.
For more information on Ashton Shepherd and her new single “This is America,” be sure to check out her official website.
— Markos Papadatos
LIKE A ROSE
Country sensation Ashley Monroe released her latest studio album “Like a Rose,” via her record label, Warner Music Nashville. It was co-produced by Justin Biebank and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill. Ashley co-penned all nine tracks that are featured on the record.
It opens with the stellar title cut and lead single and it is followed by “Two Weeks Late” and “Used.” Ashley co-wrote “You Got Me” with Karen Fairchild from the award-winning country group Little Big Town and they provide the harmonies on this track. She changes the pace of this album with the up-tempo “Monroe Suede.”
My personal favorite track is the gorgeous ballad “She’s Driving Me Out of Your Mind,” which deserves to be a radio single for Ashley in the future.
It closes with “You Ain’t Dolly (And You Ain’t Porter)” which she recorded as a duet with country music superstar and label-mate Blake Shelton.
Simply put, Ashley Monroe’s “Like a Rose” is one of the best traditional country-sounding albums by a female vocalist since Lee Ann Womack’s “There’s More Where That Came From.” Her vocals are soothing, crystalline and reminiscent to those of such songstresses as Miranda Lambert and Jewel. This album is highly recommended to fans of the traditional genre of country. It garners an “A” rating. The only downside is that there are only nine songs in this collection, but they are all high quality and well-written tunes. This album is a substantial indication that Ashley stands out as one of Nashville’s most promising new female country artists.
For more information on country singer Ashley Monroe and her new CD, visit her official website.
— Markos Papadatos
RUST BELT COWBOY
With his new CD, RUST BELT COWBOY, David Shelby proves that good country music can originate north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Shelby brings some hardscrabble grit from Motor City to Music City with a sound he describes as “Rust Belt Country”.
The new album, slated for national release August 6, 2013 via major retail Internet outlets, leaps from the speakers with the rocking, uptempo boot-scooter lead-off track, “Kick A Little Dirt Around” that is also the debut single from the project. Released to radio in June, the single is already getting airplay and made an impression overseas, logging several weeks at number one in the UK’s HotDisc Top 40.
With its unrelenting beat and repetitive chorus of the song’s title, “Kick A Little Dirt Around” is an infectious dance number that you have to sing along to and is a sure-fire guarantee to get audiences dancing up a sweat at Shelby’s live shows.
The tempo slows just a little with “What Kind Of Kiss” that Shelby wrote and co-produced. It showcases his writing talent and ability to create hard-to-forget lines such as: “Is this the last first kiss that I’m ever gonna need” as part of an instantly memorable and hummable chorus.
“Stealing Honey” kicks the tempo back up with rapid fire lyrics to a semi-syncopated beat that again demonstrates Shelby’s skill as a fine songwriter.
The only true ballad on the album is “Your Better Man,” a romantic love song that is lifted by Shelby’s gritty, resolute voice, sometimes reminiscent of a young Bruce Springsteen.
In addition to his distinctive voice, Shelby is an accomplished instrumentalist. He has played trumpet as part of touring families of artists as varied as The Turtles, Little Anthony & the Imperials and Stevie Wonder, and opened for acts that include Foreigner and Styx. With RUST BELT COWBOY David Shelby has brought Detroit to Nashville with this excellent debut project.
— Preshias Harris
UNDER THE COVERS
Just weeks after releasing her Right On Time cd to rave reviews, Grammy Award-winner Gretchen Wilson has released her much anticipated Under The Covers album. Featuring 12 of Classic Rock's most memorable hits from the 70s, the new album was released digitally and hit stores June 4, 2013.
"We've included rock songs in our sets for years, and I have always wanted to record an album like this," said Gretchen. "I basically asked my band to give me a list of their favorite Classic Rock songs, and then we went through all of them and decided what to include. It was a blast!"
Produced by Gretchen, Under The Covers includes 12 songs originally made famous by the likes of Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, a somewhat obscure song by Derek & the Dominoes/Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Foreigner and more.
"My band loves to cut loose during our Classic Rock medley on stage, and they did an amazing job recording these tracks," added Gretchen.
Gretchen was in Los Angeles recently making two national television appearances promoting both Under The Covers and Right On Time. On June 5, she performed a song from Under The Covers on "Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and also join the cast of "The Talk" to chat about the new music, her career and balancing being a mother, artist and business woman.
Under The Covers Track Listing:
1. Stay With Me
2. Doctor My Eyes
3. Everybody Wants You
4. Bell Bottom Blues
5. Funk #49
6. Hot Blooded
7. Over the Hills & Far Away
8. I Want You To Want Me
10. Her Strut
11. Bad Company
12. Into the Mystic
Gretchen was back in Nashville on Sunday, June 9 to perform at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage on the closing day of the CMA Music Festival. Her first full-length Christmas album is set to ship in October.
For Gretchen Wilson news, tour dates, store and her exclusive Club 27, visit www.GretchenWilson.com or www.facebook.com/GretchenWilson.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
Lonestar released their newest studio album “Life As We Know It” on June 4. The members either wrote or co-wrote nine out of twelve songs on the record.
An award-winning country group, Lonestar, is made up of Richie McDonald on lead vocals and keyboards, Michael Britt on lead guitar and background vocals, Keech Rainwater on drums, as well as Dean Sams on keyboards, acoustic guitar and on harmonies.
“Life As We Know It” opens with their lead single, the up-tempo “The Countdown” and it is followed by their current single “Maybe Someday,” which Richie co-wrote with Dean Sams, Billy Montana and Frank Myers and “How Can She Be Everywhere.”
“Pretty Good Day” is upbeat and a radio-friendly tune and they show us how to have a good time on “Party All Day.” Richie showcases his tremendous range on “If It Wasn’t For You” and his fellow band members shine on harmonies.
Other noteworthy songs include “I Did It For the Girl,” “With My Eyes Open,” “I Miss When” and “Just the Rain” is a soothing and tender vocal by Richie that ought to be released as a single at some point.
It is a ‘pretty good day’ any time a music listener is afforded the privilege to listen to a Lonestar album and “Life As We Know It” is no exception to it. This CD is highly eclectic and a real gem to the genre. Country radio is not the same without Lonestar and hopefully this will be the record that will get them back to the top of the charts where they rightfully deserve to be.
To learn more about Lonestar and their new music, visit their official website.
— Markos Papadatos
FISHING FOR SOMETHING
Rising country starlet Rachele Lynae is gearing up for the release of her highly anticipated new single, "Fishin' for Something." The song is a cleverly-penned song that shows a strong and sassy side to the beautiful brunette. "Fishin' for Something" has been spinning on Sirius XM's "The Highway" since May and has already become a top-selling hit on iTunes long before it's official add date on terrestrial radio.
"It's funny ... even the guys love the song, even though it says, 'Dude, you're not gettin' what you're fishin' for,' but they still like it," Rachele says with a smile of the song she co-wrote with good friend and fellow songwriter Hannah Bethel.
"Fishin' for Something" is one of six tracks included on Rachele's new Party Pack EP was released digitally via most online digital retailers, including iTunes and www.rachelelynae.com on Tuesday, June 18. The EP will also feature her debut single, "Party 'Til the Cows Come Home," and four other original songs written by Rachele and produced by award-winning country star, Jamie O'Neal. The Party Pack gives fans a sneak-peek into what's to come on Rachele's self-titled debut album scheduled for release later this year.
Rachele Lynae hails from the rugged state of Alaska, but that's not the only thing that sets her apart from others who surround her in the country music format. With her powerhouse vocals and unique gift of songwriting, Rachele is the complete package for what it takes to be a superstar. In the short year since signing a recording contract with Momentum Label Group, Rachele has already garnered a loyal fan-base, and has gained the respect and admiration from her musical peers and critics alike.
This summer, Rachele will hit the road visiting radio stations all across the country in promotion of her new single. She will also be performing with some of her favorite country artists including Randy Houser, Jerrod Neimann, Wynonna and more.
For all of the latest news and information and complete list of tour dates visit www.rachelelynae.com or www.facebook.com/RacheleLynae.
RACHELE LYNAE PARTY PACK
1."Party 'Til the Cows Come Home"(Rachele Lynae / Jimmy Murphy / Jamie O'Neal / Stephanie Bentley)
2."Fishin' for Something"(R. Lynae / Hannah Bethel)
3."Cigarette" (R. Lynae / Katelynn Beckett)
4. "Words in Red" (R. Lynae / Kyle Stallons)
5. "Loaded Gun" (R. Lynae / H. Bethel / Tiffany Kilmer)
6. "Out on the Floor" (R. Lynae / J. Murphy / J. O'Neal)
HEADLIGHTS, TAILLIGHTS AND RADIOS
Tracy Lawrence today revealed the album cover and track listing for his forthcoming studio album Headlights, Taillights And Radios set be released August 20, 2013. The project marks the first full studio album Lawrence has released in several years.
The project features 11 songs of which promises to be a mix of a more edgy and traditional Lawrence. In addition to writing his own songs, Lawrence enlisted some of music’s finest writers, including his upcoming new single “Footprints On The Moon” written by the Peach Pickers comprised of Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ben Hayslip. The new single will be released in June.
The album title Headlights, Taillights And Radios carries a signature meaning for Lawrence. “Headlights” looking to the future; “Taillights” celebrating the past; and “Radios” a tribute to his success on radio.
Headlights, Taillights And Radios gives us a new Tracy Lawrence. One that is sure to inspire and ignite a whole new generation of Country music.
Track Listing for Headlights, Taillights And Radios
1. Foot Prints On The Moon - Ben Hayslip/Dallas Davidson/Rhett Akins (ASCAP/BMI)
2. Stop Drop And Roll - Brandon Kinney/ Casey Beathard (BMI)
3. Where I Used To Live - Rick Huckaby/Flip Anderson/Joe Caverlee (BMI)
4. Lie - Ruben Estevez, Brad Ramsey/Jason Massey (ASCAP/BMI)
5. Blacktop - Kurt Allison/Michael Dulaney/David Fanning (ASCAP/BMI)
6. Good Girl - Westin Davis/Kip Moore/Dan Couch (BMI)
7. Cecil’s Palace - Rick Huckaby/Flip Anderson/Tracy Lawrence/Alex Torrez (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC)
8. Cloud Of Dust - Rick Huckaby/Aaron Sherz (BMI)
9. The Other Side Of 35 - Tim James/Casey Beathard/Kendal Marvel (BMI)
10. Saving Savannah - Rick Huckaby/Michael White (BMI)
11. Butterfly - Rick Huckaby/Tracy Lawrence/Flip Anderson (ASCAP/BMI)