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The enigmatic juggernaut that is Ryan Adams keeps on rollin'. It's exhausting to be a Ryan fan - he's just so prolific, and it's become difficult to digest one new album before another one comes along. That being said, it's important that you spend some time with his latest, Easy Tiger. What we have here is a truly great American songwriter who's really just hitting his stride.

Blessed from Lucinda Williams is the songwriter's 10th studio album and emotionally one of her heaviest works. The twelve song collection is certainly reflective, delving into some recent troubling times including both the passing of her former manager and also fellow songwriter Vic Chesnutt. While the songs of Blessed deal with some weighty issues and the musical tone is far from rollicking, Blessed is more a look at a songwriter coming to terms with these events not necessarily drowning in them.

In a time where most country musicians seem as glitz and glam as their pop music counterparts, it's songwriters like Ryan Bingham who remind us that it's not just the hat you’re wearing but the words you’re spilling that make you a country artist. Now on his third proper album, Junky Star, Bingham continues to impress as a songwriter offering a collection of songs that stress his talent with wordplay and emotion.

Ryan Bingham's sophomore effort, Roadhouse Sun, picks up where his debut album, Mescalito, left off. A strong set of southwestern country songs, Roadhouse Sun speaks to Bingham's life experiences, his trials and convictions.

For someone that has released at least one album per year since 2000, it would have been quite odd not to dig into a new Ryan Adams record before December's end. Rest assured... Cardinology from Ryan Adams & the Cardinals is here. And oddly, for an artist that spends most of his time writing, Adams has been touring quite a bit this year. In fact, for most fans the first opportunity to hear much of this new material was likely in the live setting.

Lucinda Williams' new album Little Honey is a welcome return to the sound and spirit of releases like Car Wheels On A Gravel Road or Essence. While the new album may not approach the overall greatness of Car Wheels especially, it does have a revitalizing spirit about it, and sounds great in light of her recent "sleep & weep" albums.

It's hard not to compare Ryan Bingham to some other Texas troubadour heavyweights. Hints of Joe Ely, Steve Earle and - most notably - Townes Van Zant permeate his Lost Highway records debut Mescalito. This is not to say that he hasn't already developed his own voice, but these songs are just as dusty and heartfelt as his predecessors.

For his first album for Lost Highway, Lyle Lovett has refueled his Large Band (36 different members contributed to this album) with some pretty satisfying results. It's Not Big It's Large sounds like classic early Lovett: country, pop, gospel, jazz, rock all fused together with the help of some crafty tunes.

The enigmatic juggernaut that is Ryan Adams keeps on rollin'. It's exhausting to be a Ryan fan - he's just so prolific, and it's become difficult to digest one new album before another one comes along. That being said, it's important that you spend some time with his latest, Easy Tiger. What we have here is a truly great American songwriter who's really just hitting his stride.

Always the cause for celebration in singer/songwriter and Americana music circles is a new album from the quirky and undeniably talented Lucinda Williams. Her new album West is a rather subdued affair, but it contains some of her most heartfelt balladry yet.

Willie Nelson's new album Songbird - produced by Ryan Adams and featuring Ryan and his band The Cardinals - sounds a lot like... well... Willie Nelson being backed by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals. The vibe is consistent & rootsy, and Nelson's voice never dissappoints.

Wrapping up a dizzying year of activity, Adams new album "29" was released the last week of 2005. It was his third (!) official release of the year, hot on the heels of Jacksonville City Nights and the double CD Cold Roses.

Cold Roses, the new double album from Ryan Adams, is probably very much the record that his hardcore fans have been waiting for him to make since his days with Whiskeytown. But since his 2000 collection of rustic Dylan-esque songs on Heartbreaker, alt-country rocker Ryan Adams made a nod towards his love for Morrissey and Brit-rock on 2003’s Rock N Roll and was followed by the dark double Love Is Hell (Parts 1 and 2). Now he returns with the 18 song Cold Roses. Writing for amazon.com, music critic Don McLeese sums up Roses succinctly: “This double-disc gem delineates the possibilities of alt-country in 2005 while transcending the limitations typically associated with the genre.”

She’s a little bit alternative country and a little bit blue-eyed soul. Singer-songwriter Tift Merritt’s sophomore album is a mix of guitar rockers, thoughtful ballads and soulful horn-driven soul songs. Producer George Drakoulis, whose work has benefited the likes of the Jayhawks, Black Crowes and Maria McKee lends an organic, live-in-the-studio feel to this rootsy and soulful collection of tunes which – coincidentally - features guest appearances from members of the Jayhawks, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, pedal steel whiz Robert Randolph and Maria McKee herself.

Elvis Costello’s first album for the Lost Highway label is a roots-rock laden collection of songs inspired by the history and cultural import of the location where it was recorded – mostly in Oxford, Mississippi, but also in Clarksdale, Mississippi and Nashville. Costello - working with his band Steve Nieve on keyboards, bassist Davey Farragher and drummer Pete Thomas – touches down on gospel and soul, sweet ballads and rollicking rock.

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