Partly because there’s not much coming out this week that has me enraptured, and partly because the first-of-May release slate is a bit sprawling and time is of the essence, this week’s record store report is gonna be short and to the point. Or, as close as to the point as I can possibly get. Dig in:


  • I have become convinced that the utterly ravishing Josh Ritter is simply incapable of being anything other than magnificent, and he is back this week with his sixth studio album, So Runs the World Away.


  • Live projects abound this week:

    • brand new Grammy winners Zac Brown Band release the three-disc set Pass the Jar

    • the inimitable Barbra Streisand offers up One Night Only, from a show recorded last September at the famed Village Vanguard

    • old pals Carole King and James Taylor team up to take on each other’s iconic hits on Live at the Troubadour.

  • She just stunned urrybody — I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor, I was so astonished! — by coming out as a lesbian; now, the terrific Chely Wright returns with a new album, Lifted Off the Ground.

  • She breathes again: ’90s R&B queen Toni Braxton is back from a life-threatening illness and sounding better than ever on her latest record, Pulse.

  • Regular readers of this blog know that I have exactly zero use for those irritating imbeciles that make up Dixie Chicks, not a single one of whom can find their ass with both hands and a map. And since their astoundingly asinine lead singer Natalie Maines seems to think that her primary job is to piss people off without purpose, her band mates — sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison — have struck out on their own with a side project entitled Court Yard Hounds. I’ll absolutely admit that I can’t wait to hear this record (if only because, notwithstanding entirely their unacceptably childish tantrums, attitudes, and behaviors, the last Chicks record — 2006’s triumphant Taking the Long Way — was a creative marvel, and because I’m dying to see how these ladies fare without the obnoxiously ignorant Maines pulling their strings), but what I really can’t wait for is the day when someone makes Ms. Maguire eat her outrageous, unforgivable 2006 proclamation to Time magazine that she doesn’t want the kind of fans that keep Dixie Chicks records in the same five-disc changer as a Reba McEntire record or a Toby Keith record. Now that she’s out here on a limb all by herself, one has to wonder if she continues to feel that way.

  • Christian mainstays MercyMe are back to introduce us to
    The Generous Mr. Lovewell.

  • The legendary Dolly Parton gets intimate and personal with her latest, Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration.

  • He’s been laying low for a while now, but the peerless
    Michael Bolton is back in the game this week and covering the likes of Van Morrison and Terence Trent D’arby on One World, One Love.

  • Once upon a time, they were the undisputed kings of soft rock. Can those ’80s icons Air Supply recapture their throne at long last with their latest effort, Mumbo Jumbo?

  • Emerson Hart and the boys of Tonic are back with a new
    self-titled album, their first since 2002’s Head On Straight.

  • Former Del Amitri frontman Justin Currie is back with his
    second solo effort, The Great War.

  • Acclaimed rockers The Hold Steady are back with Heaven is Whenever

  • A pair of the finest indie troubadours on the planet right now both have new albums out this week, and Sherry Ann’s latest future husband
    Cary Brothers — a guest on Brandon’s Buzz Radio next Tuesday evening — thinks you should purchase both of them posthaste: the enchanting Greg Laswell is up with his latest, Take a Bow, while the haunting William Fitzsimmons returns with Until When We Are Ghosts

  • And, finally, for my fellow soap fiends out there, two new books hit shelves this week which are must-reads: producer Ken Corday has written the autobiographical The Days of our Lives: The True Story of One Family’s Dream and the Untold History of Days of our Lives, whose long-winded, quasi-repetitive title seems fairly self-explanatory, while controversy-courting former The Young and the Restless star
    Victoria Rowell is sure to get her entire industry talking with her debut roman-a-clef-ish novel, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva.

4 responses to “a single white female lookin’ for that special lover
(or: may 4 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Sweet, sweet Brandon:

    I would love to talk shop re: The Dixie Chicks and provide some counterpoint to your arguments {arguments that are pretty justified, I trust), but all I will say at this time is that the Hounds album is a solid set musically, but it has a few clunky spots lyrically.

    Chely Wright being a lesbian is, or was, one of Nashville’s open secrets. I’m glad it’s finally out in the open on her terms. More importantly, her album’s one of the best of the year so far.

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    Darling Blake: any time, any place.

    I had no idea about Chely AT ALL! Is that why country radio turned away from her so brusquely?

  3. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Time permitting, I will draft an email soon. Until I can schedule an in-person meeting of the minds, that will have to do.

    Honestly, country radio never turned away from Chely Wright because country radio never actually full accepted her. A number of factors were at play, the least of which may have been her rumored sexuality. First, her material was always a little more quirky than the Nashville norm, lyrically and musically. Songs like “Shut Up And Drive” and “The Love That We Lost” from her mid-90s career deserved a better fate. There’s a reason why her biggest (and only #1) hit was “Single,” which was actually quite good for what it was. It fit right in with the musical prozac of the time (though, admittedly, some of it was well-done).

    It’s mentioned in the book as well that she was naturally shy (owing partly to “the gay thing”) and was very uncomfortable with the overtly sexual treatment from male DJs and radio programmers. Female artists like Connie Smith and Loretta Lynn have talked about the unwanted male attention, and unfortunately not much has changed in forty years. If you don’t play the flirt-for-airplay game, then you often lose out.

    After struggling with the follow-up of “Single,” she decided to follow her muse instead of seeking out radio-friendly hits. I’m really happy that she’s come forward, but her country radio career has been dead for about five years, confirmed by the poor response to the absolutely brilliant, “Back of the Bottom Drawer.” Music Row is scared to death of a free-thinking woman, straight or gay.

  4. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    And on a less-serious note, my favorite part describes country’s reigning male vocalist, Brad Paisley, as a sheltered, slightly-homophobic boy who’s a bit of a wimp.