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Sunday 2 August 2015

Aug 2014

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m usually less than enthusiastic about compilation CD’s, but our next offering is something quite outstanding. “Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats : A New Music City” (Sony Legacy)  is a 36 track double CD collection, released to coincide with an exhibit at Nashville’s Country Music Hall Of Fame.
It takes us back to a time when Dylan arrived in Music City to record “Blonde On Blonde”, and Cash was recruiting folk & rock musicians for his ground breaking network TV show.  It’s a time when Country music, and Nashville, came out of the box, and gained much wider appreciation.
Bob Dylan may not be the most melodic vocalist in the world, but he certainly is one of the planet’s most prolific songwriters, having his material recorded in all genres of music.
This collection features three Dylan self-compositions, including an unreleased version of “If Not For You”. There’s also “Girl From The North Country”, which he wrote and recorded with Cash.
Johnny Cash, for his part, is featured performing Dylan’s “It Aint Me Babe”.
There’s a fair sprinkling of classic folk rock tracks from the likes of The Byrds, Ian & Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Kris Kristofferson, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Jeff Walker, Joan Baez, Steve Goodman, Neil Young and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
But there’s quite a few surprises too. There are individual tracks from George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, signifying The Beatles influence on American music generally. All three tracks are very different, and all fit nicely into this collection.
Would you believe, Derek & The Dominos are in there too. Of course, Eric Clapton was in the band, and he later extended his Nashville connection by working with Don Williams. The track here is from the Johnny Cash TV show, where they jam on “Matchbox” with Cash & Carl Perkins.
Then, up pop The Monkees, or perhaps more correctly Mike Nesmith, on his own “Some Of Shelley’s Blues”. What a great song, later recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Finally, such a joy to hear Linda Ronstadt team up with Earl Scruggs on The Hag’s “Silver Wings”, and there’s a great version of Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road”.
It’s some collection. It’s certainly not a random set of songs from a label catalogue. A lot of thought has went into its’ compilation. It features some real gems, and comes with a 32 page booklet with sleevenotes from Tracy Nelson, Pete Finney and Michael Gray, and information about all the songs.
As a piece of Country music history, this CD should be in every fans collection.

For the past 25 years, ALAN JACKSON has proved himself to be one of Country music’s most popular international entertainers, without really touring a whole lot outside of North America.
His latest album, his 15th mainstream studio album, is “Angels & Alcohol” (Humphead), which continues the Alan Jackson sound that we’ve been accustomed to.
He starts off with a slow intro into “You Can Always Come Home”, but a minute in, he lifts the tempo to that trademark AJ sound.
The title track is a beautiful ballad, which Alan does his own way. “The One You’re Waiting On”, is another lovely ballad, this time from the pen of Adam & Shannon Wright, the duo Alan has nurtured over the years (Adam is his nephew). No favouritism here though. The song wins its’ place on the album on merit.
“Gone Before You Met” featured some really nice instrumentation, that it could’ve been a throwback from his recent bluegrass album.
“When God Paints”, another ballad is a very simple ballad, which wouldn’t have been out of place on his gospel albums.
He has a couple of upbeat tracks including “Jim and Jack and Hank” and “You Never Know”. Rounding off the album, “Mexico, Tequila and Me” has a familiar feel to it. I really expected Jimmy Buffett to pop up on it.
There’s loads of Country guys appeared on the scene since Jackson was the new boy on the block. But 26 years on, he’s still making great records, and one of the few true Country Boys in Nashville!.

Texan singer songwriter KACEY MUSGRAVES has really took Country music by storm since release of her album “Same Trailer Different Park”, and hits “Follow Your Arrow” and “Merry Go Round”.  It proved that TV talent shows aren’t the only way to break into the music business. (She only came 7th in the 2007 season of “Nashville Star”)
Now, she’s back with her second major label album, “Pageant Material” (Mercury). The title track sums up Kacey nicely. Don’t tell her what to do. She’s her own person, and wont follow protocol, just because that’s what you should do.
That’s even evident in her international career. I can’t remember the last time that a Nashville artist got their album released here, on the same day as it’s American release, and promoted it with a different radio single!  I’m glad she did. “High Time”, which opens the album, but hasn’t been a single back in the states, is an absolutely gorgeous song, which has had a lot of radio play here, especially on Radio 2.  It’s a brilliant song, a shade nostalgic, a simple arrangement, with such an easy, irresistible whistle along chord.
Elsewhere, there are shades of Loretta Lynn or Bobbie Gentry, as she uses her deep Texan drawl to deliver songs like “This Town” and “Dime Store Cowgirl”.
“Biscuits”, the US single, has quite a catchy chorus line, and even Willie Nelson gets in on the act here. “Late To The Party” is a lovely romantic ballad, which she hasn’t really delivered before, but proves quite capable.
Apart from “High Time”, I really like the self centred “Somebody To Love”, laced with some beautiful steel guitar courtesy of Paul Franklin. Paul also helps out on the business bashing “Good Ol’ Boys Club”. The bouncy “Family Is Family” really hits hometown life on the nail.
As I say, Kacey ain’t like anyone else in Country music today, or in the past. She’s breathing new life
Into the music.
A real winner !

THE BELLAMY BROTHERS are something of a Country music institution. This year, Howard & David are celebrating their 40 years of hits, and to mark the occasion, the aptly titled “40 Years” (Proper Distribution) has been released. It’s a 2 CD set. CD1 features 20 of the Brothers’ big hits, like “Let Your Love Flow”, “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body”, “Old Hippie” and “Kids Of The Baby Boom”. The other CD features 20 newer songs, all but one original. The exception is “The Rock”, written by Scotland’s own Frankie Miller.
I do like The Bellamy Brothers sound. I always have. Hailing from Florida, they perhaps have never been fully accepted in Nashville, as they don’t sound like everyone else. They’ve been nominated for Country duo more than any others at the CMA’s, yet have never won. That’s a crime!
Although I enjoyed their new songs here, I was to say that I was a shade disappointed. They sounded just like ….. themselves!. Some of the songs were very similar to previous hits, but then, why change a winning formula.
I did especially like “Heaven And Hell”, a lovely ballad, which didn’t sound too familiar. “Together We Have It All”, is a simple old fashioned love ballad. They acknowledged their international following on “Jet Lag Journey”, which was a bit more upbeat.
They could court some controversy with “We Don’t Call 911”, suggesting that if you arm yourself with a gun, you can take the law into your own hands. There’s also one called “Boobs”, a tongue in cheek number which you’ll have to check out for yourself.
I’ve several Bellamy hits collections, but I guess another to mark their 40th Anniversary, is a good deal especially when marketed with newer material.

Country music has its’ legends, but there is no doubt that WILLIE NELSON and MERLE HAGGARD are the two greatest living legends in our music. They’ve teamed up for “Django & Jimmie” (Sony Legacy), a new 14 track collection, which features new material, as well as reworking of song old classics.
The album, and titled track, was inspired by Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers. Both, influential in each of their careers, apparently.  Another inspiration was obviously Johnny Cash, and, together with Bobby Bare, they pay homage to him on “Missing Ol’ Johnny Cash”. They do the song in Cash’s own style, and cover some aspects of his life, which aren’t all favourable.
The lead single, “It’s All Going To Pot”, covers the cannabis culture, which is legal in some US states these days. “Live This Long”, was written by Shawn Camp and Marv Green, but is such a great song for this pair, it could’ve been written by themselves.
Willie, and long time producer Buddy Cannon wrote the uptempo “It’s Only Money”, the catchy “Driving The Herd” and the rather sad “Where Dreams Come To Die”, whilst Merle wrote “The Only Man Wilder Than Me”.
Of the classics, Willie’s “Family Bible”, and Merle’s “Swinging Doors” and “Somewhere Between”
are given the 2015 treatment, as is Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”.
Great to hear these two legends still delivering such great music. Just the way you’d expect them to.
A superb album!

JOHN & JACOB are a Country act which hails from Birmingham, Alabama, but are intent on making a name for themselves in the UK. They’ve played several gigs here, and had a couple of songs playlisted on Radio 2. Their self titled debut album has just been released here, and is already getting some good reviews.
The first thing that strikes you about “John & Jacob”, the CD, is the cover picture, which has five guys on it. John Davidson and Jacob Bryant have known each other since childhood, and spent over a decade playing clubs, bars and festivals around America’s Southern states, before the act evolved into a full band. So whilst John & Jacob are the act, Jake Thrasher, Trevor Davis and Austin Taylor Smith completer the band. Hopefully that clears up the confusion.
Their influences are as diverse as The Beatles, Blitzen Trapper, Southern Soul & Gospel, and Classic Country. And, indeed, it’s a sort of sixties pop sound that came over for me throughout the album.  The vocals are clear, the guitars’ twang, and it’s quite a listenable album, but wasn’t very Country in my opinion.
The lads are writers for Nashville publishers, which will naturally find them mixing in Country circles. All eleven tracks are self penned, and they deliver them well.
My choice cuts would be the rockin’ “Breaking The Law”, and the bouncy “Be My Girl”.

BILLY CURRINGTON is one of Country music’s most established male singers.  The Savannah, Georgia native singer has just released his sixth album, “Summer Forever” (Humphead) since first hitting the charts twelve years ago. In that time, he’s notched up nine Country Number One’s including “People are Crazy”, and “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer”.
This latest album continues the style that Currington has become recognised for. It features a dozen songs from a stellar list of Nashville writers including Ashley Gorley, Shane McAnally and Hillary Lindsey, and was produced by Dann Huff.
There are some good songs here, most notably, “Drinking Town With a Football Problem”, which I’m sure could be adopted here, even if the football is a different game.
“Don’t It”, which opens the album, is a modern upbeat number. In contrast, “Give It To Me Straight” is more of a ballad. “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used”, the one track which Currington was involved in the writing, is an OK song. It’s a little repetitive, but quite enjoyable.
“Do I Make You Wanna” and “Nowhere Town” also had some appeal.
Other tracks, I’m afraid were lost on me. “Soundtrack”, and the title track should have no problem getting airplay on pop radio stations. Just didn’t sound Country to me.
It’s modern Nashville male Country. If that’s your thing, then check it out !

EASTON CORBIN is one of the newer Nashville guys, whose sound I’d actually call Country!
He burst onto the scene in 2009 with “A Little More Country Than That” (co-written by Rory Feek).
Now Humphead have just released “About To Get Real”, his third album.
I’ve always thought Corbin had a natural George Strait sound, and that is still evident on the title track, and the closing ballad, “Like A Song”, amongst other tracks.
“Wild Women And Whiskey”, written by Ronnie Dunn & Terry McBride, is the stand out track for me. It’s pure Country, and worth the price of the CD alone.
“Baby Be My Love Song”, is quite a catchy number. It’s his latest stateside single, and doing real good for him. “Just Add Water” is another uptempo song, which I really enjoyed.
“Are You With Me” is much slower a number, again reminiscent of Mr Strait.
It’s another superb album from Easton Corbin, who may not quite have had the recognition he deserves (especially over here). Hopefully this album will win him many more fans.
Highly recommended.

MIKE DEVINE is one of Scotland’s longest established Country entertainers. He’s played support with many Irish and American acts, and even played the Wembley Festival, and that wasn’t yesterday.  He plays mainly in the North, but fans everywhere can enjoy his music with the latest of many CD’s he has released through the years.  (another six currently available on his website)
“Love You Every Second” was produced by Ronnie Ross at Kirhill Recording in Inverness, and features a nice easy listening Country.
The album kicks off with a cover of Isla Grant’s haunting “Ghosts Of Culloden”, and closes with Dave Sheriff’s “Best Of Friends”. In between, you’ll hear everything from “Galway Girl” and the popular line dance tune, “Closer” , to two Charlie Landsborough numbers. He does a really nice version of Katy Moffatt’s “Walking On The Moon” and “I’ll Leave This World Loving You”  really stands out. There’s also Alan Jackson’s “Livin’ On Love” and Mark Chesnut’s “Ol’ Country”.
A really nice listen.

Now, as they say, for something completely different.
Some readers may be familiar with THE HELLFIRE CLUB. They have played around West of Scotland’s Country venues in recent years. But their roots were in the indie scene, and they’ve went back to that side of the live scene, although they’ve certainly kept some of the Country influence for this album, titled “Songs For Fallen Stars”, recorded in Glasgow at La Chunky studios.
The band is a seven piece outfit featuring Bob Anderson, Rab Armour, Nick Ronan, Mark Ferrari, Helen Brown , Willie Brown and Kenny Irvine.
Some of the tracks are quite rocky, but listen out for the Country tracks.
“Cal” has some superb west coast influences, somewhere between Gram Parsons & The Eagles.
“Hint Of A Wink”, reminded me of that other Glasgow band from years gone by – The Humpff Family. A real good time sound, with some great fiddle in the mix.
“Absent Friends” is a bit slower. The instrumentation is quite retro Country. Certainly not a modern Nashville sound.
“Deli’s Clock” is a real uptempo foot tapper, with a really infectious fiddle, and chorus line.
Like some concept albums, there are a few short interludes between some of the tracks. They hardly got going, before fading out. I’m afraid I missed the point of them.
But, I have to say this album was a pleasant surprise. Not what I was expecting. But I liked it.  

DARK GREEN TREE are an Alt-Country trio, whose roots can be traced back to a meeting during the Edinburgh Festival, 5 years ago, between Jay Brown and Ross Cockburn. They discussed  
writing songs together, but it was a few years later before that idea became a reality.
Last summer the pair get down to recording at the Home at Heriot Toun Studio, when they realised that their songs could incorporate close female harmonies. Enter Cera Impala, and Dark Green Tree was complete.
The album, “Secret Lives” (Haven Records) with 10 self penned tracks, is full of haunting vocal harmonies. Their music has been likened to Buffalo Springfield, and certainly the opening track, “Yearn For Love”, has that guitar driven west coast soft Country rock feel to it. “Rolling Wind” and  “Secret Life” are in the same mould.
There’s some nice fiddle from John McCusker on the folksy feeling “Sarah”.
“Skin And Bone”, “Heart Of Winter” have more a haunting celtic feel to them.
It’s an interesting album. Dark Green Tree have an interesting sound.

For the past nine years, Gram Parsons music lived on across the Scottish music scene, thanks to THE CITY SINNERS. But things move on, and the band recently called it a day.
But, as a souvenir, the band made one final recording, “The City Sinners 2015”, a seven track mini-CD, which, maybe surprisingly doesn’t include any Gram Parsons songs !
There are four tracks from the pen of band leader John Hinshelwood, including “What’s Left (Is What’s Right” and “Tell Me Something”, which have also appeared on his own albums.
There’s an original song, “Newborn Man” written and sung by Kathy Stewart. Kathy also takes lead vocals on Ian Tyson’s classic “Someday Soon” and “Not Yet”.
There’s a lovely blending of vocals on Jesse Winchester’s “A Showman’s Life”. The track also features some wonderful steel guitar courtesy of Malcolm McMaster.
Although the line up changed through the years, this farewell CD , recorded at Carlton Studio in Glasgow, features John, Kathy & Malcolm, alongside David McKee, Iain Barbour and Frank McHugh, with additional vocals from Paula McKee on the harmony laded original “Not Yet”.
This CD is meant as a souvenir for City Sinners fans, and isn’t on general release. But do check the website I’m sure you’ll can secure a copy there.

NATHAN CARTER is currently the hottest property on the Irish scene. Of course, hailing originally from Liverpool, and the great musical heritage they have there, he picked up the best of both worlds.
After building up his Irish career for the past few years, he has now been picked up by Decca Records.
Being with a big label, means promotion like national TV exposure. The label appreciate what he’s achieved to date, and want to bring the songs that have worked for him to the new audiences. The down side, is that his debut big label album, “ Beautiful Life”, features mostly material that his long time fans will already have in their collections.
But Radio 2, and TV show’s like “Lorraine” can win many new fans for his versions of “Wagon Wheel”, “Where I Wanna Be”, “Saw You Running” and “Drift Away”. The album does include three of Nathan’s own compositions, including “Boat To Liverpool”, “Welcome To The Weekend”  and “Call You Home”, a brand new song, co-written with John Farry and Nashville based Canadian songwriter Ralph Murphy. It’s a beautiful ballad which I really enjoyed.
The other track that really stood out for me was “On The Other Side”, another beautiful ballad, written by ex Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune, Tom Botkin and Kevin Denney.
Nathan is a superb entertainer, and deserves his break. Hopefully, the success of this album will encourage the label, and others, to seek out other home grown acts for their labels.

NICKY JAMES has been building up a solid Country music career across the UK. Originally from Ireland, he’s spent time in Switzerland, and these days, is based in the North west of England, and visits Scotland regularly.   Back in the 1980’s he played in a band with his brother Joe McShane. As a solo act he won the BCM Award for Male vocalist.
This album, “About Time” is well titled. Nicky has been working on it since 2008. But it’s well worth the wait. There are 15 tracks, ranging from Country classics like “Make The World Go Away”, and “The Running Kind”, to the evergreen folk classic, “Hard Times”, and recent US Country hits like “Is It Friday Yet”.
Nathan Carter joins Nicky on a cover of Buck Owens’ “Come On In”, and there’s some lovely harmonies from The Haleys. I enjoyed the whole album, but especially want to mention the catchy “You’re In Love With The Wrong Man”, Harlan Howard’s “You Heart Turned Left”, which is a real toe tapper, and the superb ballads “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” , “Once More” and “My Time With You”.
Nicky James is a superb entertainer, and this album really was worth the wait.

DAVE SHERIFF is certainly one of the UK’s major Country music entertainers, with years of experience. He’s covered the UK scene from every angle, and still keeps his act fresh. He’s been playing music since the 70’s, and been releasing his own CD’s since 1991.
His latest album, “Undecided” (Stomp) features 22 original self written songs. And the impressive thing for me is that, they are all different styles. Dave covers an amazing amount of variety on this album, from “Highway Trucker” and “Highway Bandido” to the romantic “Kristina’s Smile”, or “All Alone In Limburg”
In between there’s up tempo foot tappers like “Take Me For What I Am” and “Mama Said”, and   classic Country sounds on “You Cant Do Better Than That” and “One Way Or Another”.
There’a a bit of rock’n’roll on “Money Lovin’ Valentine” and 50’s style ballad on “I Know One”.
“Live Until You Die” has a distinct Irish feel to it, whilst he appeals to the Scottish ceilidh fans on “West Highland Home”.
The backing is superb, and it all makes this album a very entertaining listen.

Next up, we have a Welsh rock musician, whose album certainly appealed to a Country boy
 like me. STEVE LOGAN is very much influenced by Neil Young, and it’s that acoustic folk rock sound that gives his latest album, “Deliverance” quite a Country feel in places.
The album, recorded in Cambridge, features 11 self penned songs. Some of the songs will be too rocky for Country fans, but several are certainly aimed at the Country fan, especially ballads like “Where Eagles Fly”, “Just The Way Your Heart Beats” and “Way Out”.
“Spanish Steps”, has a nice relaxed feel to it, with some nice harmonica, during it’s 60 second intro.
“Long Way From Home” is a more uptempo number, with a driving beat, which I really enjoyed.
“Real Thing”, which closes the album is another track which draws heavily from the harmonica sound.
Steve has a fair voice. Not traditional, or modern Country. I guess it’s an Acoustic, alt-Country album, which I must say, I quite enjoyed.

JACE EVERETT was one of the artists who came over a few years ago to Celtic Connections, as part of the CMA’ “New From Nashville” campaign. In fact, Jace was part of the promotion two years running.
He is a singer songwriter from Indiana, but travelled via Texas before completing his education, and starting his musical career in Nashville. His claim’s to fame include writing Josh Turners No.1 hit, “Your Man”, and performing “Bad Things”, the theme to the HBO TV series “True Blood”. That song actually made the UK pop charts, back in 2009.
He’s had considerable success in Norway, where “Bad Things” reached No.2 in the pop charts, and one of his albums reached No.12.
But his US Country success was limited to one song, “That’s The Kind Of Love I’m In”, which only reached No.52 on the Country charts.
But Humphead Records, here in the UK, have shown their support for Jace, with several single releases throughout the years, and have just released a “Good Things …The Best Of”, which features 18 tracks, including four live tracks. The afore mentioned US hit, is not one of the tracks!
Jace has quite a unique sound. It’s certainly not the sound that you’d expect to hear coming out of Nashville. He has more of a haunting rock edge to his music, but, having said that, several of the songs on here, have a real Country feel to them.
Listen out for “Pretty Good Life”, which has quite a radio friendly sound. Then “No Place To Hide”, which is labelled “Mountain Mix” sounds like something out of a western movie.
It’s an interesting album, but didn’t really appeal to me that much.

JONATHAN EDWARDS is one of music’s unsung heroes. He’s been around the music scene since the mid sixties, and is a highly respected singer songwriter and musician, without getting the popular recognition he deserves. He was born in Minnesota, found his musical roots whilst at University in Ohio, before moving to Boston to play in the thriving scene there. A certain Joe Dolce was in an early band with him.  He later played on Emmylou Harris iconic “Elite Hotel” album.
To date, Edwards has released 17 albums, the latest, “Tomorrow’s Child” (Rising Records) is an easy listening Country folk outing, which is a real joy to listen to. Edwards wrote 5 of the tracks himself, and another with Jon Vezner (Mr Kathy Mattea). Other contributions come from Marcus Hummon, Joe Walsh , Malcolm Holcobe and Stephen Foster.
It’s quite an acoustic album, which you hear every note on every instrument and every octave in Jonathan’s vocal range.
The album kicks off with the lilting “Down In The Woods”, which is a really bright start to the album. That’s followed by the rather haunting track, which features some effective harmony from Allison Krauss, whose tones can make any record.  Vince Gill harmonises on a couple of tracks, including the gorgeous “The Girl From The Canyon”
“Mole In The Ground”, has a bit more of bluegrass sound, thanks to the banjo, and “This Old Guitar”, sounds more old timey. Then, the emotional “Johnny’s Come Home”, which closes the album is really folksy.
His version of the often recorded “Hard Times” is sung in a stunning accapella gospel style with Sarah Dugas and Odessa Settles. It’s so different to other versions of the song,  that it really stands out.
It’s great to hear Jonathan Edwards back on the CD player again. An acquired taste, but someone that deserves much more recognition than he gets. A worthy listen.

Next up, THE MIKE + RUTHY BAND, principally Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar, who spent seven years in Pete Seeger’s grandsons’ band The Mammals, before forming their own outfit.  Now comes the album, “Bright As You Can Be” (Humble Abode Music / Thirty Tigers).
To say that the album portrays an eclectic musical mix would be something of an understatement. They draw from folk, bluegrass and Country, to rock and even Motown throughout the album.
The opening and title track has quite a modern bluegrass approach, and certainly got me interested from the off. “Word On The Street” is more of a straight Country song, with lots of fiddle and steel in the mix. Then we get into a couple of more soul sounding tracks before “Freckled Ocean”, a rather pleasant song, with quite a folksy feel to it.
“The Ghost Of Richard Manuel”, the only song on the CD not written by Mike & Ruthy, displays some neat harmonies, with some nice Country instrumentation. Got me thinking what Lady Antebelum could sound like with a Country backing. “Simple & Sober” is another really nice, simple bluegrassy number, which Ruthy’s vocals really suit. “The Farmer” appealed as well.
It’s an interesting album.  If you like bluegrass with a twist of pop and soul, check it out!

ED DUPAS is a singer songwriter from Michigan, although he was born in Texas, and lived for a while in Canada. For the past ten years, he’s performed self penned acoustic material in Detroit bars. Now he has released his debut album, “A Good American Life” (Mackinaw Harvest).
It’s an enjoyable set of strong songs, taking in patriotic angles on the title track, and “Flag”, whilst homelife is covered in the simple arrangements of  “This Old Town” and “Home In Time”.
“With Love You’ll Never Know” is an exceptionally nice ballad, with Tata Cleveland on harmony vocals. I also really liked “Whiskey Bones”.
It’s a pleasant listen. Worth checking out.

SAM LEWIS is a new name to me, but has being making a lot of pleasing noises in Nashville lately. “Waiting On You” (Brash Music) is the follow up to his acclaimed self titled debut three years ago.
Personally, although appealing to Country fans, I’d say he has more of a bluesy sound, than Country. He reminded me of T Graham Brown, and his bluesy sound didn’t stop him having a successful Country career, so I feel Sam could follow suit.
Lewis wrote all the songs, except “Little Time”, which he co-wrote with Taylor Bates. Musicians include Kenny Vaughn (from Marty Stuart’s band), Darrell Scott and Will Kimbrough. There’s also harmonies from The McCrary Sisters.
“Never Again” is probably the most Country track on the 12 track CD. It’s a slow ballad with very little backing, although the weeping steel guitar sounder wonderful on it. Mickey Raphael’s wonderful harmonica really makes “Texas” stand out. I also really liked the nostalgic “Virginia Avenue”, a real front porch song, and “I’m Coming Home”, where it was keyboards that really stood out.
This album really grew on me. I don’t know if it’s because the more Country songs were later in the album, but, even the bluesy numbers were quite listenable.

 Finally, THE RAILSPLITTERS are a Colorado based band whose music is described as “Rockygrass”. There’s certainly a bluegrass feel to their second album, “The Faster It Goes”, which was released here to coincide with a recent tour here.
The five piece band features neat vocals from Lauren Stovall, banjo from Dusty Rider, fiddle from Christine King, Peter Sharpe on mandolin and Leslie Ziegler on bass.
They have come up with an enjoyable album of original material. Only one track, the closing, “Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes” wasn’t composed by members of the band. This track also stands out as it’s the only track with a male lead vocal.
I loved the opening track, “Tilt-A-Whirl”, a really catchy number to get us in the mood.
“Tell Me” has a bit of a nostalgic feel to it, whilst “It’s A Little Late” has quite a bluesy angle to it.
“The Estuary” is a lovely instrumental half way through the album. It has a nice folksy feel, and you can just imagine it playing as you sit by a river somewhere. There’s another instrumental, “Goosetown”, which is altogether a bit more upbeat.
It’s an interesting album, from a very talented bunch.

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