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Feb 14, 201209:10 AMThe Telegraph

The Premier Blog of the West

New Tunes: Feb. 14, 2012

Feb 14, 2012 - 09:10 AM
New Tunes: Feb. 14, 2012

rascalflatts.com

Rascal Flatts, “Banjo” – These dudes have been an easy target in the past, not only for their frosted-tip hairdos but for their crossover-flirting poppiness. In the last few years, though, the guys have won back a lot of the traditional-country crowd with several bona fide Nashville jams (“Why Wait” being the best example). They take it a step further with their new single, an ode to the most recognizable of bluegrass instruments.

Punch Brothers, Who’s Feeling Young Now? Speaking of banjos, this cutting-edge bluegrass group puts out its third album today. There’s at least one familiar face in the group for country fans – Chris Thile, formerly of Nickel Creek, leads the group and plays mandolin. Hard to go wrong with talent like his in the picture.

JT Hodges, “Goodbyes Made You Mine” – The Fort Worth native might have a hit on his hands with this catchy single and its tongue-twisting verses. We’ve only listened to it once and can’t get it out of the ol’ noggin. 

Heartless Bastards, Arrow Fans of Americana and country will definitely find something to embrace in the new release from this Austin-by-way-of-Ohio band. Its gritty material – elevated by the vocals of Erika Wennerstrom and the production of Spoon’s drummer Jim Eno – incorporates a wide range of rootsy influences.

Amos Lee, As the Crow Flies EP – Seems that the soulful, sometimes countrified singer-songwriter is getting some unreleased material out of the way between albums. We’ll take it!

Rosie Thomas, With Love Thomas is another folksy singer-songwriter who could cross over into country with ease. But there’s no real defining genre at work on her latest album. Its acoustic-style tracks are simply earnest, heartfelt and melodic.

Gene Watson, 25 Greatest Hits The Texas country legend releases his new best-of collection, including “Fourteen Carat Mind,” “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” and many more.

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