Joy Williams – Venus: Mars could not be reached for comment.

2015_JoyWilliams_VenusArtist: Joy Williams
Album: Venus
Year: 2015
Grade: B

In Brief: There’s a quiet strength to Venus that I find incredibly appealing. The Civil Wars are irreplaceable, and Williams is wise not to try, but her first full-length solo album in 10 years is still leaps and bounds ahead of her old CCM stuff.

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The Secret Sisters – Put Your Needle Down: To Quit You or Not to Quit You? That Is the Question.

2014_TheSecretSisters_PutYourNeedleDownArtist: The Secret Sisters
Album: Put Your Needle Down
Year: 2014
Grade: B

In Brief: This neo-traditional country duo swings back and forth between peppy “girl group” songs from a bygone musical era and more brooding alt-country ballads, with a heavy emphasis on songs about breaking up with good men and wishing you knew how to break up with the bad ones.

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Kimbra – Vows: Open up your heart, and let her eclectic soul pull you in.

2012_Kimbra_VowsArtist: Kimbra
Album: Vows
Year: 2011 (re-released in 2012)
Grade: B+

In Brief: A melodically rich, thrillingly nostalgic, and bizarrely eclectic concoction of an album that, though imperfect in both of its forms, marks a formidable debut for a promising young artist.

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