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Stay Toasty with New Music

If I had no idea that Cahalen Morrison & Eli West were from Seattle, I would know anywhere. Their beautiful and skilled songs have a true sense of place that evokes the Pacific Northwest – that despite its big cities, is really a region of mountains and rivers, the ocean and forests. They have an air of the outdoors that travels along with their music. Hear for yourself when Folk Alley presents a First Listen beginning Jan. 28 of the band’s most-recent recent release, I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands.

Rosanne Cash‘s new CD, The River & the Thread, is also tied to a geographic location. The songs, written by Cash and collaborator/husband John Leventhal, were inspired by the South (contemporary and historical). Even though she now lives in California, Cash has an especially emotional relationship to Memphis, where she was born, and her father’s home state of Arkansas. Rosanne has a very active life in social media – follow her on Twitter @rosannecash (and while you’re at it, follow @FolkAlley).

A longtime songwriter stepping back into the spotlight, Irene Kelley returns with her third solo album, Pennsylvania Coal. Kelley’s breakout as a songwriter came at age 19 when she felt the need to sing the glories of her home state in "Pennsylvania Is My Home," which also produced a PBS documentary. When her first solo album went unreleased in the ’80s, she turned to writing successful songs for some of the most-popular bluegrass and country stars in the business – including Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn, Rhonda Vincent, Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson. The new CD goes back to her roots to tell heartfelt stories of life in coal country.

Parker Millsap adds to Oklahoma’s reputation as being home to great musicians. John Fullbright and Samantha Crain are recent adds to a list that dates back to Woody Guthrie and Gene Autry (among others, Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill are also on the list). Parker’s gritty approach to singing and songwriting belies his age. Still in his early 20s, his music sounds like it has already lived a long, hard life. Check in with Parker at the start of what should be a promising career on his debut eponymous CD.

Other new music to hunker down with:

Hurray for the Riff Raff – "Small Town Heroes"

Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore – "Love Runner"

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings – "South"

De Temps Antan – "Ce Monde Ici-Bas"

Lucinda Williams – "Lucinda Williams"

Jack Williams – "Four Good Days"

Johnny Flynn – "Country Mile"

Hard Working Americans – "Hard Working Americans"

Tim Grimm – "The Turning Point"

Ganey Arsement – "Le Forgeron"

Blue Highway – "The Game"

Julie Lee – "Till and Mule"

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