USA Today – Playlist: The Mavericks, Chelle Rose, JJAMZ

Pick of the week: The Mavericks’ Born to Be Blue. One of country music’s best live bands of the ’90s returns, and its members haven’t lost a step, if reports from recent Stagecoach and Nashville shows are to be believed.


10 intriguing tracks found during the week’s listening:

Pontoon, Little Big Town
As with Boondocks, the quartet keeps its summertime song refreshingly free of lyrical or musical country clichés.

Even the Losers, Pat Green
On Songs We Wish We’d Written II, this Texan finds a new approach to the Tom Petty song involving piano and strings.

I Need You, Chelle Rose
Rose revives a great Julie Miller rocker on her swampy, Ray Wylie Hubbard-produced Ghost of Browder Holleralbum.

Roll Me Up, Willie Nelson
Nelson, Snoop DoggKris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson take turns at the microphone making a pothead’s last request.

Drinkin’ Man, George Strait
Starting from a 14-year-old’s first hangover, Strait traces an alcoholic’s life with agonizing precision.

Gin, Smoke & Lies, Turnpike Troubadours
The band cut its teeth on the Southwest’s “Red Dirt” circuit, but this sounds like an Appalachian ballad.

“45,” Gaslight Anthem
Vinyl, cars and rock ‘n’ roll ghosts — a song about being stuck between staying the same and moving on.

Heartbeat, JJAMZ
Imagine young Madonna as a Britpop act. Or a supergroup from The Like, Maroon 5,Rilo Kiley and Phantom Planet.

After All, The Choir
Leigh Nash joins one of Christian rock’s most consistently interesting groups for a cosmic slice of dreampop.

Life Boat, Early Morning Rebel
On a track of hopeless beauty, this fashion-forward L.A. duo reaches out to a lost soul that’s long past saving.

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