- - Monday, May 18, 2015


Some superior country music artists are producing a bounty of new releases that fans would love but may never discover because most news outlets generally write only about major household names.

One reason your Country Times columnist writes is to introduce you to some of the best new music that is easy to overlook. Check out some of the latest:

Della Mae

National fiddle champion Kimber Ludiker formed Della Mae with virtuoso musicians who bring a host of sonic influences into the mix.

Della Mae’s self-titled album, which was released last week, offers some of the most beautifully haunting music that ever sported the country label.

Tracks include the fiddle- and mandolin-filled country/Americana “Boston Town,” a shoutout to hardworking women; the bluesy Americana midtempo romp of “Shambles,” about letting someone own their mistakes; and the luscious new-wave-tinged “Long Shadow,” which guitarist Courtney Hartman wrote after an intriguing encounter in Pakistan.

Don’t be surprised when Della Mae hits the charts in the not-too-distant future.

Jason Michael Carroll

Country crooner Jason Michael Carroll financed his latest album, “What Color Is Your Sky,” through a Kickstarter Inc. crowdfunding campaign, but the 15-track release has the style and chops of major labels.

One listen, and it’s easy to understand why Arista Nashville signed Mr. Carroll and released his 2007 “Waitin’ in the Country” debut, which hit No. 1.

“What Color Is Your Sky” is a reminder of why Mr. Carroll took country by storm with his debut and found critical success with his subsequent two albums.

Although his latest album, released this month, adds a liberal dose of rock to his country a la Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, Mr. Carroll’s vocals are all country. His baritone on “All I’m Drinking ‘Bout,” and “Blown Away” bring to mind country great Randy Travis.

Buffy Sainte-Marie

“Power in the Blood” is the 14th album Miss Sainte-Marie has released, and it may well be her best.

The Canadian-American artist is well-known and rightly honored for her civil rights activism and music, but the 74-year-old Cree singer-songwriter is no throwback to yesteryear. As fans know, the artist’s catalog is an embarrassment of riches, with styles ranging from acoustic to traditional American Indian songs to classic folk to true rockers.

Her latest batch of songs is a delicious mix of styles.

Standout tracks include Miss Sainte-Marie’s reinvention of the 1964 tunes “It’s My Way,” which mixes electronic with soul-stirring percussion reminiscent of American Indian drum lines and folk lyrics, the electronica-Americana “Farm in the Middle of Nowhere” and the rock-folk-Americana-Native mix that is “Generation.”

Expect critics to name “Power in the Blood,” released last week, as one of the best albums of the year.

Miss Sainte-Marie is scheduled to perform with Bill Danoff at The Hamilton in the District at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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