Three Collections From Garth Brooks, George Strait And Faith Hill, Along With A New Studio Album From The Kentucky Headhunters Round Out The End Of November
Four releases have recently hit stores from 90’s country favorites. Are these titles ripe for holiday gifts this season? For the most part, fans will likely have the majority of this material in their collections. Let’s take a closer look at what each one offers as far as new music goes in order to find out if they are worth dipping into your gift buying budget.
Garth Brooks – The Ultimate Collection *Target Exclusive (11/11/16)
“Do we really need another Garth box set?” If you find yourself asking this question, you’re most certainly not alone. After 9 studio albums, 3 previous box sets, 3 Christmas albums, Double Live, Double Live 25th Anniversary and of course, Chris Gaines… As Garth fans, we have definitely put our fair share of money in. Enter: The Ultimate Collection. 10 discs of mostly previously available songs ranging from the very first album through last year’s Blame It All On My Roots set. Though the sticker claims that the set includes 18 unreleased tracks, don’t get TOO excited. Sure, you receive Gunslinger in full prior to its official release date (11/25/16), but those 10 songs are part of the 18.
So, where do you draw the line to decide if The Ultimate Collection is worth your attention? The remaining 8 unreleased songs include 4 live tracks (“In Another’s Eyes,” “American Pie” with Don McLean, “Wrapped Up In You” and “New York State Of Mind” with Billy Joel), the anniversary edition of “Friends In Low Places” with Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, George Strait and Keith Urban, a cover of the Randy Travis song “1982” and finally a new track titled “SugarCane.”
If you’re a Garth Brooks completist, like I apparently am, these 8 tracks will likely seal the deal. If you have everything else already and can live without the 8 exclusive tracks, this could be an easy pass. Personally, I’d hold out the last few days and pick up Gunslinger on its own at this point. *Gunslinger review coming soon!
Faith Hill – Deep Tracks (11/18/16)
On November 18th, Warner Bros. Records released Deep Tracks, a collection by Faith Hill. I don’t really understand why this project was put together. Ten of the thirteen tracks included on this disc are songs that were on previous Faith albums, but were never released to radio as singles. Let me make this a little clearer, if I may: If you are a fan of Faith Hill, you probably own the six CD’s that she has released. If this is the case, you already own these songs.
“But wait!” Warner says, “There are three new songs!” (Ok, this is not an actual quote.) Yes. Deep Tracks includes three previously unreleased songs. “Boy,” “Why,” and “Come To Jesus” are tacked onto the end of the album to entice the Faith Fanatics out there.
Like the above mentioned Garth box set, whether this is worth your time or not, is up to your desire to own everything that Faith has recorded. We’ve been waiting 11 years for a new album from Faith Hill. Believe me, when truly new material is available from Faith, I’ll be right there waiting to add it to my collection. This tease, if it can even be considered such, is a real let down in my opinion. Disagree? Please let me know in the comments below!
George Strait – Strait Out Of The Box: Part 2 *Walmart Exclusive (11/18/16)
Strait Out Of The Box: Part 2 is the follow-up to George Strait’s first box set that was released back in 1995. This three CD set is comprised of 56 songs: (36 classic hits including 26 #1’s, 18 choice album cuts and you guessed it, 2 new songs. There seems to be a bit of a theme amongst these releases, no?
Priced at just under $20 at your local Walmart, this set would make for a fantastic introduction to the “King” of country music for anyone who is yet to become familiarized with Strait’s career or someone who happens to have nothing in their collection. Then again, if someone you know doesn’t have any George Strait in their collection, are they really a friend? (Kidding… kind of.)
The two new tracks of course draw the line once again in the case of deciding whether this purchase is worth the cost. New music is always welcome from George Strait, and the two included songs are no exception. “Kicked Outta Country” was co-written by Jamey Johnson and touches on the current state of country music, much like “Murder On Music Row” did back in 2000. “You Gotta Go Through Hell” is a blast and deserves more attention than I feel this box set will provide. Perhaps these two will be included on the next studio album from George. Until then, the decision is yours.
The Kentucky Headhunters – On Safari (11/4/16)
Beyond all of the collections that have popped up over this past month, The Kentucky Headhunters have released their 9th studio album, On Safari. I’ll admit, though I LOVED the 1990 classic “Dumas Walker” and still do today. Other than a few other singles throughout the past 27 years, I don’t know a whole lot about these guys.
What I can tell you is that if you are a fan of solid country-fried southern rock and you need a new fix, On Safari needs to be on your radar, immediately! From top to bottom, this new record from the Kentucky based four piece band absolutely rocks. This new material is so authentic to what bands in their genre strive for, that these songs could easily slip into the jukebox at a smokey biker bar or into a playlist on classic rock radio, and no one would even know that it was sourced from a 2016 release.
Will The Kentucky Headhunters’ On Safari be for everyone of our readers? Maybe not. If you are looking for honky-tonkin’ music, this doesn’t exactly land on that mark. Do you need a great album to throw into the garage stereo while getting some work done or downing a few beers? Look no further!
Have you purchased these recent country music releases? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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