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Tuesday 15 February 2011

Oct 2007

Your Love – VFM

Fort William based Paula is Scotland’s hardest working entertainer, working 7 nights a week in venues from the West coast to the Northeast, and whilst not 100% Country (she does some 60’s and Scottish music as well), she certainly appealls to the Country fan.
Very much in the Irish Country vein, Paula has recorded several albums on the Emerald Isle, but this time, she recorded the CD at Kirkhill Studios in Inverness, with musicians Kevin Jack, Ronnie Ross, Allan Thompson and Sara Ann Cuil.
The 14 tracks cover a variety of styles, from Country classics like Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me” , Buck Owens’ “I Dont Care”, and Tammy Wynette’s “Higher Ground” , to pop oldies like The Seekers, “I’ll Never Find Another You” and Sandie Shaw’s “Long,Long Love Love”. There’s modern Country ballads too, including a very good version of “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “When You Say Nothing At All”. They all fit together into a style that is very much Paula MacAskill.
The Irish connection is maintained, with a couple of duets with Tom Lavery. The two vocals work well together, especially on the ballad “Love & Happiness”. “Nobody Loves You Like I Do” is quite catchy and radio friendly.
Paula also does an exceptionally good version of Isla Grant’s “A Dream Come Truea song that is so personal to Isla, yet has gone on to become one of her most covered numbers. Paula’s version is one of the best I’ve heard.
Also impressive is her interpretation of Abba’s “The Way Of Friends Do”. This song has been done so often, yet Paula makes it her own, with outstanding instrumentation and warmth in her vocal styling.
The two tracks which really stand out for me, are the title track “Your Love”, and “Standing Tall”, both
The thing I like about Paula is that she doesn’t try to sound like anyone else. That allows her personality to come across on record, as well as in her stage shows.
Not only is there a Cd, but a DVD as well, shot on location around Paula’s picturesque home area around Lochaber.
The CD at £10, and the DVD £12, inclusive of P&P, is available through

Cross The Border – Parrot House

Smooth Radio’s Jackie Storrar has quite an international career, having played to audiences in no less than 42 countries around the world. Her radio career took her from Radio Tay to Malta, and home again.
This is certainly not an all out Country album, but as Jackie admits, her influences are in UK pop as well as modern Country.
She does cover a couple of pop tracks, although Motorhead’s “Ace Of Spades” certainly has a country rock feel to it. Country fans will instantly recognise Dan Seal’s (when he was England Dan) “I Really Like To See You Tonight” and Mary McGregor’s “Torn Between Two Lovers”, which Jackie does a good job on.
But it’s the original material, which Jackie wrote, that really makes this album stand out.
The album kicks off with the catchy “Dont Leave Me Just Squeeze Me”, followed by some solid Country ballads like “Heaven Blessed”, “The More I Give You” and the title track .
“Angel In Disguise” , “Sometimes Love Is Not Enough” and “Which One Takes The Blame” are particularly strong songs of family values. I’m sure many readers will be able to associate with them. As Jackie writes on the sleevenotes, as she stands on the border between youth and maturity, she reflects on her own life,where one crosses the border between joy and heartache. That’s certainly reflected in the songs on this album. And because these songs are so much self inspired, she really delivers from the heart.
My own favourite has to be “She’s All Cried Out”, which is such a strong Country song, that would do Reba proud.
Recorded in Spain, and Valleyfield, the album is produced by Pete Ware who has previously worked with Charlie Landsborough. The musicians include Dougie Stevenson, Willie Logan and Canadian fiddler Ian Cameron.
In the main, it’s a modern Country sounding album. The production is great, the songs well crafted, and sung beautifully. Well worth checking out. The album is available in HMV,Virgin and Borders.

Translated From Love – Ryko

I’ve always had a soft spot for Kelly Willis. Her unique Texan drawl delivers a raw edgey sound that nobody else brings to today’s Country music.
This is, in fact, her first album for five years, having put music on the back boiler to concentrated on her family. Son Deral, born in 2001 has been joined by three siblings since her last album. But despite the heavy family responsibilities, she has managed to come up with a superb Texan sounding album, half written by the lady herself.
She teamed up with Chuck Prophet for the project, which also features some intrigiung covers, including Iggy Pop’s “Success”. It’s a very catchy version, especially with The Gourds vocal chants. The song suits Willis style well.
Willis began her career in rockabilly, and she goes back with her tribute to the “Teddy Boys”. The opening trip, “Nobody Wants To Go To The Moon Anymore” has a similar punchy beat,
“Sweet Little One” and “Swet Sundown” are catchy little numbers, that I really liked.
“Stones Throw Away” is a nice relaxing number, as is “Too Much To Lose”. But it’s the title track, and final cut, “Translated From Love”, which is the stand out ballad. I love the soft accordian backing.
Kelly Willis wont be everyone’s cup of tea. Her vocal style is certainly a heavy Texan drawl, which I like. The music is modern, and possibly not too mainstream, but there is a commercial appeal to the album. Certainly worth a listen!

Old New Borrowed Blue – Artful

Jace Everett has been featured on the CMA’s New From Nashville promotion for the last two years, an was back here last month, with dates in Edinburgh, Glenfarg & Glasgow. The CMA promotion was based on him being the new rising star on the Sony label. Unfortunately Jace got caught up in the politics and streamlining following the merger with BMG.Jace is now doing his own thing, not what others wanted him to do.
This album is a much more acoustic affair than the expensive major label album he released last yearby the much travelled Indiana native.
Several of the songs are given new stripped down arrangements, like “Bad Things”, “Between a Father And a Son” and “I Got To Have It”. There’s other songs like “To Be Your Man”, which is the most commercial offering on the album.
“The Greatest Gift” is, in my opinion, the strongest ballad on the album. But like a lot of the album, Jace’s vocals sound strained. That works on some tracks, but not on others.
If you’ve enjoyed Jace live in concert, you’ll enjoy this CD

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