Tim Mcgraw

"Two Lanes of Freedom"

Producers: Byron Gallimore, Tim McGraw

Label: Big Machine

Release Date: Feb. 5

Tim McGraw's Big Machine debut shapes up to be his most varied offering yet. With strong material ranging from regret ("Annie I Owe You a Dance") to a prisoner looking back ("Number 37405") to such breezy fare as "Highway Don't Care," his best might be yet to come. -CD


Jeremy Camp


Producers: Jeremy Camp, Andy Dodd

Label: BEC Recordings

Release Date: Feb. 12

Jeremy Camp's rich, muscular voice teems with passion on his seventh studio set, "Reckless." The title track is particularly effective, a driving anthem about pursuing faith and unbridled abandon. Soaring with melody, "Come Alive" upholds the lyrical message of dedication, while the buoyant "Shine" further cements Camp as one of the genre's most successful acts. -DEP


Jim James

"Regions of Light and Sound of God"

Producer: Jim James

Label: ATO Records

Release Date: Feb. 5

Away from the thunderous gallop of My Morning Jacket, Jim James' solo debut turns toward soul and studio experimentation. "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)" channels Bill Withers as James' rugged tenor crackles under studio static, only to be buried in the horns of "Know Til Now." By album's end, George Harrison's presence quietly radiates. -DG


Richard Thompson


Producer: Buddy Miller

Label: New West Records

Release Date: Feb. 5

With dozens of solid albums behind him, brilliant British guitarist and witty songwriter Richard Thompson emerges with his strongest collection since 1999 standout "Mock Tudor." His British folk roots covered for the moment on this largely rock-rooted effort, he embraces such styles as '60s garage rock, country and tribal ­drumming.-PG



"Face the Music"

Producers: various

Label: Mo-B Entertainment/Capitol/EMI

Release Date: Feb. 5

Deftly flavoring old-school influences with new-school flair, Avant knows how to command attention. The soulful tenor gets down to business on the uptempo "Toast to Love," then nimbly flips the switch on sexy ballad "You & I." Avant still knows how to keep the romantic flame fired up. -GM


Justin Bieber

"Believe Acoustic"

Producers: Justin Bieber, Dan Kanter, Da Internz, Tom Strahle

Label: RBMG/Island Def Jam Music Group

Release Date: Jan. 29

In concert, Bieber's acoustic regime strips away the glossy pop production, leaving just a softly twanged guitar. Some songs here unplug better than others, the standouts being "All Around the World" and "She Don't Like the Lights." But the real treasures are unreleased tracks like "I Would," which ups the acoustic ante with buoyant drums. -EZ