Thursday, January 16, 2014

Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell, Matt Kennon and Jeff Bates All Unveil New Projects

Five distinctively different male country music artists unveiled projects this week. Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart are working on a collaborative duo project, Rodney Crowell and Jeff Bates have announced new album releases and Matt Kennon has an EP that will be shipping soon.

First things first, there are few country artists with as long of a modern legacy as Tritt and Stuart. Tritt has been relevant for 25 years now and Stuart's 80's and 90's success has propelled him to be the current face of the Grand Ole Opry in Little Jimmy Dickens' old age. It was at a 25th anniversary concert celebration this past weekend at the historic Ryman Auditorium, that hallowed hall of the Opry, that Tritt brought up on stage his good friend Stuart and they announced that they will be releasing a new duet project together by the end of 2014.  Eric Parker of MusicRow.com shared, "The honky-tonk outlaws have already co-produced four sides for a forthcoming album, which may be available by the end of the year. “The new project is real close to unplugged – getting back to the root of things,” he said. The comrades previewed Tritt’s first instrumental song, “Pickin’ At It,” which is expected for inclusion on the upcoming duet project.

Fresh off of Rodney Crowell’s critically lauded collaboration with Emmylou Harris, which is nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award and was named 2013 Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association, the singer/songwriter has teamed up with New West Records to release Tarpaper Sky, his new self-produced album.  Tarpaper Sky will be available April 15, 2014. From the press release:
Crowell has created an album that harkens back to some of his most revered and loved works.  Tarpaper Sky would sit comfortably on the shelf right between the chart-topping fan favorite Diamonds and Dirt (1988) and Life Is Messy (1992).  This album marks a reunion of the creative partnership of Crowell and musical accomplice Steuart Smith, who was an integral part of his overall sound during the late ‘80s.  The lyrics and message behind the bittersweet "Long Journey Home" sum it up best, “the simple life tastes sweeter now, you have no need to roam". The songs and vibe of Tarpaper Sky are full of warmth and familiarity as if it were a favorite record you would have worn out years ago.  “Frankie Please,” an ode to falling fast for a fast woman rocks like a jukebox classic, as does the two-step ready focus track “Fever on the Bayou” while the touching “God I’m Missing You” and “Grandma Loved That Old Man” resonate with themes that lovers of Crowell have long been drawn to – vivid characters, heartbreak and sentiment for life’s lessons.
Jeff Bates doesn't have quite the longevity of the veterans above, but he has charted seven different hits on the Billboard country charts, of which three reached top 40: "The Love Song" (his highest, at No. 8), "I Wanna Make You Cry" at No. 23, and "Long, Slow Kisses" at No. 17. He has announced that he is close to releasing a new independent project dedicated to his biggest influence, Conway Twitty, appropriately named Me and Conway. The collection will include six original tunes, as well as six Conway Twitty classics, including some possible duets.
“As an artist, I have certain goals at this point in my life, and that is to make the music that I want to make, without anybody saying it needs to be this way or you should do this,” says Bates. “I know I have the best fans in the world. They’ve been loyal, and they’ve been with me through thick and thin. I know what they ask for and what they want to hear, so I want to make that kind of music. I want to make music that I’m proud of – just once – without it being filtered through everybody else’s creative mind. My fans have screamed for years for me to record some Conway Twitty songs,” Bates says.
While only his "The Call" has cracked the Billboard country charts, Matt Kennon's southern rock live show and distinctive low voice has allowed him to put out three different albums and two EP's, with another EP now on the way. The new EP will be called Simplified and Kennon calls it "bare bones songwriting sessions." He recently went to Facebook and unveiled a new track called "Til' He Was Gone" that you can listen to HERE.  The EP will be available digitally in February. 

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