John Hiatt Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns: In his most complete and intimate album since 1987’s classic Bring The Family, Hiatt puts the spotlight on his strong songwriting with tender arrangements and a lyrical vulnerability that is somehow heartwarming.
Keb Mo The Reflection: This album is all about collaboration, as the veteran bluesman gets together with a wide array of guests, including Vince Gill, India.Arie, and jazzmen Marcus Miller and Dave Koz. Throughout, Mo is able to keep a continuum, musically and emotionally, that makes this a satisfying and worthwhile listen.
Trace Adkins Proud To Be Here: The country star puts an extra emphasis on his own songwriting, with positive results in both the songs and in his convincing delivery. Highlights include the single, “Just Fishin,” a tender father-daughter tribute, and the powerful title song.
Rick Braun Sings With Strings: The title of this album hints at two major influential albums, Chet Baker Sings and Clifford Brown With Strings. The production and arrangement pay homage to both, and Braun adds a little pop sensibility to this set of classics, including beautiful deliveries of “I Thought About You” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”