Chelsea No Evil
Mitchell begins this 6-song EP with "Good Morning, Heartbreak," a fast country shuffle performed with an amount of glee that indicates that he's over it and happily moving on. And why not, he's soon singing "Woman in Love," an anthemic barroom thumper that celebrates the unbridled joy that comes with a new relationship. Falling in and out of love is the theme throughout, and listeners really get a good listen to Mitchell's Don Henley-esque tones on the slow "Sometimes Things Just Fade" and the tearjerker "Maybe I Was Looking for You." Mitchell closes the effort with the Tom Petty-gone-country rocker "Darlin', Let Me Warn You."
Whiskey, Wine & Water
EZ Money/Critical Sun
Jones' trip to the country goes down many a lane here; listeners go on a hayride on the Buck Owens-ish "You and Me Tonight," head for a hazy bayou during the mystery-infused "Dreams" and then pull into the roadhouse for the harmonica-embellished rockin' shuffle of the title cut. The musical styles may vary but it is Jones' voice that is the star here; with strong pipes that can belt it out like Bonnie Raitt and a penchant for understated nuance that recalls Allison Moorer, Jones keeps the party moving throughout and does it with panache.
Raised on the Run
Garage Door Records
Singer/acoustic guitarist Shirley specializes in blue collar country songs with rock overtones, exemplified by easy going cuts like "Hard Road to Easy Street" and "Raised on the Run," occasionally popping with a tune that hits really close to home like the hard times that are chronicled in "Come On Man." Highlights include the fun driving song "Honky Tonk Highway," the funky, radio ready modern country of "In a Pickup Truck" and the amusing "The Good Drugs" where the lyrics surprise with talk of being drug to church, drug to the woodshed and more. Shirley is backed by a full band throughout.