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Rodney Crowell

Texas (RC1)


Rodney Crowell stopped caring what mainstream Nashville thought of his songs long ago, and it’s just as well. While his recent output can be a little hit-and-miss, nobody could ever accuse the music city veteran of being a cookie-cutter act. His voice is uniquely his own.

Here, Crowell pens an ode to the hillbillies of the plains in “Flatland Hillbillies.” With “Caw Caw Blues,” he may have produced the first country song dedicated to Heckle and Jeckle, the cartoon crows. With a wry sense of humor, Crowell keeps his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, which isn’t a bad way to deliver a song.

Rick Ross

Port Of Miami 2 (Epic)


Ten albums in and Ross seems to be stuck in rewind. Like a lot of his contemporaries, Ross’s lyrics are mired in braggadocio. He’s super rich, got a yacht, cars, furs, whatever it is you dream about, he’s got it. Jealous?

A lot of these lyrics are so filthy, I was immediately turned off. Parents, be advised, this is definitely something you want to keep from kids of a certain age. I’m no prude, but I think this kind of posturing only succeeds in keeping the genre stale, with only minimal growth. Do better.

John Batiste

Anatomy Of Angels (Verve)

You may know John Batiste as the musical director on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” When he’s not tickling the ivories on late-night T.V., he’s an in-demand session player who might be found in the company of Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, or Ed Sheeran.

These five tracks are taken from a recent performance at New York’s fabled jazz club, The Village Vanguard. Batiste puts his own tasty spin on Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought Of You,” and Thelonious Monk’s “Round Midnight.” Though he augments the original melodies with incredibly accelerated runs, he never gets too far ahead of himself, or his fellow players. This is just what classic jazz played in a classic venue should sound like.

New Releases:

The Highwomen/The Highwomen (Elektra)

The Allman Brothers Band/Fillmore West ’71 (ABB)

Iggy Pop/Free (Loma Vista)

Bat For Lashes/Lost Girls (BFL)

Sister Hazel/Earth (Croakin’ Poet)

NRBQ/Turn On, Tune In Bonus (Omnivore)

CD’s Provided By CD-DVD-Games Warehouse, 3717 80th Street, Kenosha, Wi, 53142,

(262) 942-9400