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Tuesday 15 February 2011

Feb 2007

Back To Where I’m Going

Dumbarton’s singing detective is back with his follow up to the highly acclaimed “Windmills” album of all original material. The first think to note is the excellent production and delivery. Brian’s vocals styling is well suited to today’s modern Country markets. With the backing of his Lone Sharks band, and the likes of Davie Holland and others, the instrumentation is superb.
The songs cover a variety of styles like relationships and stardom.
“Leave The Light On” has a catchy link to it, whilst “Where Loves Breaks Down” is quite commercial,
“Lullaby” is quite a sentimental sad Daddy & Daughter song, which still fits well into the album, as does “Life Goes On”.
“Jesus and CMT” and “Next Big Thing” both see Brian wanting to make it big in Nashville, just like he did with “One Of These Days” on his last album. Everything being fair, Brian should be getting the attention in Nashville on the strength of this album. It’s equally, or more, listenable than much of the material coming out of Music City these days.
Stand out track for me, however is “Absolute Decree”, which has no intro, and goes straight into the line “This Old Guitar of Mine Is Yours, Songs I Wrote On It Aint No Use, If You’re Not There To Hear Them Anymore”. Words that just make a Country song. This track is so well put together, it should be a hit.
Brian has made his mark on local festivals during the last year or two, and is back at The Selkirk Festival and club dates at the Opry & Silver Spur clubs in March, Perhaps this album should increase his audience based much wider.

Unbridled – BGM Records (US Import)

Lantana is a new Texas based Country girl trio, who will have the obvious comparisons made with The Dixie Chicks. Whilst these girls’ music has an edge, like the Chicks, they do have their own sound and style, and comparisons wouldn’t be fair.
The trio are Texans Biz Haddock from Dallas and Karol Ann Delong from Sulpher Springs, together with Dalene Richelle, originally from Edmonton, Alberta, who moved to Dallas four years ago.
The album kicks off with “I’m A Country As A City Girl Can Be”, already a chart hit for the trio. It’s a great anthem for female Country fans that aren’t from rural backgrounds.
The continue the theme with the rather steamy “Ride Em Cowboy”.
The trio wrote the banjo flavoured “The Juice Ain’t Worth The Squeeze”. It’s a good timin’ foot tapping number.
Whilst this is the trio’s only self composition, two of the tracks were written by Billy O’Rourke, who plays guitar on the album. The first is the album’s opener, the other, the much softer “Let Somebody Love You”, which demonstrates the girls’ ability to sing ballads too.
Elsewhere, “No Trespassing” has a good beat, and even a bit of saxophone, which works well. “Saving Up For Saturday Night” has a really good feel good factor, as does album close “Feel Like Rockin’ Tonight”.
A good 13 track CD, nothing like the Dixie Chicks, from three Country girls that are worth getting to know. I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from them before long.

One More Midnight – Curb

Hal returns to Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry on March 18th, and to coincide with his visit Curb Records release his latest CD here on February 12th.
This 13 track album is quite a masterpiece, covering a wide variety of styles.
The opening title cut is quite a neat little truckdriving rocker, not unlike Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love A Rainy Night”. It’s a good start to the drive through the album. Later on, “My Love Will Not Change”, has a similar catchy beat. “Just The Other Side Of Heaven”, the first American single slows the tempo a bit, but still has a nice beat to it. It’s a strong radio single.
“Travelling Teardrop Blues”, has a really nice feel to it. I really enjoyed this track, whilst “Little Red Dress” had quite a bluesy beat to it. Quite different.
“Save Tonight For Me”, “The Moment” and “Forever Mine” are quite romantic ballads, which like “Alamo”, slow the tempo, suits Hal’s unique vocal style.
“One Of The Things” is a bit lightweight, but does introduce us to Katie Cook, who duets well with Hal. It’s just a shade sugary for the rest of the album.
“Medal of Honor” is quite a serious tribute to wartime heroes back in 1944.
The most inspiring track, however, has to be “Poor Lila’s Ghost”, quite an eerie folksy number, which I was runs to all of 14 minutes & 47 seconds – guess you’ll have to buy the CD to hear this track, as it wont get radio play.
Hal is his own man. He doesn’t sound like anyone else. Nobody else sounds like him. This album is quite different to anything else you’ll pick up this year.

Just Right – Bull Bait Records

Born and raised in Louisiana, Woodie Procell spent years working the rodeo circuit as a professional rodeo clown and Bull Fighter and performed at the Calgary Stampede. He’s been in Colorado since 1988 and his band, The Snowy River Band, play numerous dates around northern Colorado , but he went to the famous Bradley’s Barn in Nashville to record this album.
It’s been a long time in the making, with the songs all written by Woodie himself, as far back as 1994. He has a really strong traditional sound on the album. There’s a good Country swing, especially on tracks like “A Spin In Aspen”, “Money & Pain”, “If I Always Do” and “She’s The She”
He can handle a nice ballad as well – “Precious Amy” and “Late Night TV” demonstrate this well.
His local background comes to the fore in “Moon Snow-Capped Over The Rockies”, the catchy “Rodeo Dude” and “Little Country Band”.
All in all, a really good listen. I really enjoyed the album, and hope it wont be another 12 years before the songs he’s writing now get onto CD. (Another album is promised by the summer!)

Sanctuary – Halo Records

London born & raised Beth has been working the clubs and college circuit around the capital for the last few years. Five years ago she met up with writers Alex Scott & Alan Morgan, and the idea for this album was born.
The duo co wrote 12 of the 14 songs, as well as playing on the album too.
The exceptions being the inspirational “Words” from the pen of Mike Headrick, and “You Are The Reason”, a soft emotional ballad written by the lady herself. It’s one of the stand out tracks on the album.
Other tracks of note, including the opening cut, “Back Where I Belong”, a good classic Country anthem. The mix of steel guitar, and Beth’s driving vocals really get the album of to a winner.
The steel also shines through on “Just Passing Through” and “Count On Me”.
I also enjoyed “Riverblind”, which is very much guitar driven, and Cherrywood”.
There’s also one for the dancers. “Line Dancer”.
The title track closes the album.
Beth maybe lacks the polish of a Faith Hill or Shania, but makes up for it in vocals full of emotion and determination.
I enjoyed the album. I look forward to hearing more from her in the future.

Country Superhits / Bluegrass (Both on Yep Roc Records)

One of Nashville’s hardest working guys recently released two albums at the same time, one straight traditional Country, and the other, pure bluegrass.
He’s an accomplished writer, recorded for several major labels, tours worldwide (he was in Glasgow during Celtic Connections in January), and played George Jones in the stage show “Stand By Your Man”.
How he ever got time to do these records beats me, but I’m really glad he did.
The first album, “Country Superhits”, may be a misleading title, but then again, here’s the type of Country music that I really enjoy. All the songs are originals, co=written by Lauderdale, most with co-producer Odie Blackman.
He never played Jones for nothing. There’s more than a hint of The Possum on this record. You’ll also hear Buck Owens influence coming through.
There’s 13 tracks, and not a bad one among them. My own favourites would include
“I Met Jesus In A Bar”,(co written with Leslie Satcher) and “Honky Tonk Mood Again” remarkably styled on Jones, and “Playing On My Heart Strings” influenced by Owens.
If I were to pick faults, I’d select “If You’ve Never Seen Her Smile” and “That’s Why We’re Here”, which are a shade slower than the rest of the back, but nevertheless still a good listen.
The Bluegrass album isn’t just another Nashville “make it sound like bluegrass” attempt. Lauderdale’s vocals really suit bluegrass music , and having written all the songs himself , and used different musicians than the Country collection, this is as authentic as you’ll get.
Another 13 track offering, mostly uptempo standard time hits, I’d pick out “It Wasn’t That I Had To” and “Mighty Lonesome” for the banjo, and harmonies, as my favourites. “Who’s Leaving Who”, another co-written with Leslie Satcher (the only connection between the two albums) is quite an interesting tale.
If you like bluegrass, this one’s for you.
But whatever you’re taste, one of these albums should be in your collection.

“Three Good Reasons” – Puffafish Records

Jessica Blake has been around. The UK born singer songwriter was raised on an Indian reservation in Florida, moved to California in her 20’s, playing anything from blues to rock, and trading Native American jewellery along the way.
In 2002, Jessica returned to London, and opened a Southwestern lifestyle store, Jessie Western in London’s Portobello Road.
It was there she met producer Ben Wright. One thing led to another, and Jessica’s first album, “Take Your Time” was released to critical acclaim.
“Three Good Reasons” is the follow up to that album.
Don’t be expecting a traditional Country album. There’s a bit of everything in here.
“5 o Clock Southbound” “You Go Your Way” and “Colorado New Mexico” are probably the best tracks for Country fans to listen out for, although “Dancing With The Dead” has a good guitar beat, which should appeal too.
Other tracks lend themselves to pop, rock and blues, but it’s well worth having a listen to the album if you can.

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