Hayes Carll hasn't been resting on his laurels since topping critics polls and winning awards for his 2008 album, Trouble in Mind. Instead, he's been on the road nearly nonstop with his band, "The Poor Choices" blasting through honky tonks and rock clubs across the U.S. and beyond. Along the way, he's been inspired to write a crop of new tunes that the acclaimed songwriter says are "a layman's take on our country - a snapshot of America in some small way." The result: the sharply drawn collection KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories), his second release from Lost Highway. KMAG YOYO is pronounced "kay-mag, yo-yo."
The Martin Hayes Quartet expands on many of the musical ideas pursued by Martin in his longstanding partnership with Dennis Cahill. The melody still remains central but now with an added range of sonic possibilities provided by the bass clarinet and viola d'amore. The addition of these instruments creates an added aural texture and amplifies the rhythmic possibilities while also allowing a larger role for improvisation. Both Doug and Liz bring a wealth of musical experience that contributes to the spacious, rich arrangements of the Quartet.
Lee Ann Womack began recording a sequel for MCA Nashville after 2008's Call Me Crazy, but none of its advance singles stuck, leading the singer to shift direction for her seventh studio album. This album didn't appear until 2014, not on Universal but on Sugar Hill/Welk, who picked up The Way I'm Livin', an album that effectively reboots her career. Produced by Frank Liddell – Womack's husband but more notably the producer behind recent hit records by Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, David Nail, and the Eli Young Band – The Way I'm Livin' finds the veteran singer intentionally abandoning the chart race for deeply felt intimacy. Womack didn't write any of the songs on The Way I'm Livin' – a collection of writers ranging from Bruce Robison, Kenny Price, Julie Miller, and Mindy Smith to Hayes Carll and Neil Young bear credits – but the material is so carefully selected, the album plays personally.