GRETCHEN WILSON, HERE FOR THE PARTY EPIC EK 90903.
There is no doubting the success of the single “Redneck Woman” from Gretchen Wilson who burst on the scene with it’s success. Her follow up single and album title is currently extending her success to prove to many doubters that Gretchen is not a one-hit wonder. She hit the road running recently on her 1st international trip that saw her jet from Los Angeles to Sydney for a four-day promotional run then on to Sweden, Norway, Germany and London. While crossing time zones, the international date line and getting acclimated to varying cultures as well as performing and interviewing, the trip was an outstanding success. Her Here For The Party album is closing in on double platinum in the U.S., debuted on the Australian national album chart, and is still the No.2 country seller there. The 10 song collection hits UK stores this month and has 6 of her own songs, all co-writes with John Rich (ex Lonestar), Vicky McGehee and other writers. John also plays rhythm guitar, sings backup and was associate producer. The CD is hard-core country with a modern sounding edge, not too unlike Travis Tritt and Hank Williams Jr. some years ago but with a female vocalist. Guitars, steel, fiddle, drums, and keyboards lay the main musical backing and her voice is strong and dominant yet gentle at times . Have a listen to “When I Think About Cheating”, its solid steel guitar “crying in your beer” country and establishes Gretchen as a fine country ballad singer. The same applies to “What Happened” and The Bed” gentler sounding hurting pieces, the staple of country for many years. Dwight Yoakam fans will love “When It Rains” with the sound and style that hit big for him and could for Gretchen. This is probably the biggest selling debut album for a female vocalist in country for many years and proves that Gretchen will be a force for many years. She has now received 5 CMA nominations for album, single, song & video for the album Here for the Party and for the single Redneck Woman as well as the Horizon Award.
OTHER SONGS: Home wrecker-Holding You-Chariot-Pocahontas Proud.
REX ALLAN - THE VOICE OF THE WEST - BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC - BACM CD0083.
The movie and singing career of Rex Allan is well documented. Before he moved to Hollywood to make his first movie “The Arizona Cowboy” in 1950 his singing career was in full swing, particularly on radio. He was a member of the WLS Barndance in Chicago, having missed out on becoming a Grand Ole Opry member. During these radio days he recorded a string of transcripts (we would call them sessions) using the band from the WLS Barndance show and from these transcripts comes this 26 song CD. As the last of the singing cowboys Rex had the benefit of not making the many mistakes earlier singing stars had made and recorded quality songs with great western sounding instrumentation. His strong baritone voice and good looks would lead him to the forefront of his chosen career but sadly the movie and music genre was due a massive change and Rex would get lost in the mix in later years. Here’s your chance to wallow in nostalgia from the late 40’s with a distinctive western style with the undoubted “Voice of the West”, Rex Allan.
www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com is the place to check out for this and more of the same or you can order direct by telephone at 01304205000.
SONGS: Little Old Sod Shanty-Lonely World-Tears on my old guitar-Wastin’ time-When it’s Prayer meeting time-When the blossom is on the sage-When the roses bloom again-Rock me to sleep-Wat out west in Texas-My music mountain home-Little ranch on the old circle B-I left my heart in Texas-Red River Valley-Me & my burro-The range in the sky-Melody of the plains-Cowboy’s Heaven-Buffalo Gals-Ridin towards the red setting sun-Dreaming of my Texas home-Pop goes the weasel (inst)-Cowboy’s lullaby-Low Rolling Hills-Covered wagon trail-Happy yodelling man-Mellow mountain moon
RODNEY CROWELL - FATE’S RIGHT HAND - EPIC EK 89082
Its been a few years since Rodney recorded a studio album and this one is worth the wait. Rodney is now out of the fast lane, does little touring and song writing, more writing from experiences of past life and now that he feels he has something to say that’s important he puts it on CD. Let me quote from the album, “its time to go inward, take a look at myself,”…..“would you believe that I’m afraid, to stare down the barrel of the choices that I’ve made” are just 2 lines from the song “Time to go Inward” and kind of sum up the mood of a great album. All 11 songs are written by Rodney one of country’s greatest songwriters and sometime underestimated by the public but not by his contemporaries in the business. Like an early Dylan, his lyrics are poetic and when set to music with his distinctive voice and musical arrangements the magic is still there. Not for your average country music fan this is reflective country that comes from a man who has suffered and is willing to share his experiences with understanding listeners. Like some of his earlier songs some of these will surface again on other artistes albums, and deservedly so. Yes Rodney Crowell is back in a big way artistically but in the commercial fast lane that is today’s Nashville sadly this is not among the big sellers and we are all the worst off for that. Guests include Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Kim Richey and Gillian Welch.
SONGS: Still learning how to fly-Fate’s right hand-Earthbound-Time to go inward-The man in me-Ridin out the storm-Preachin to the choir-It’s a different world now-Come on funny feeling-Adam’s song-This too will pass.
LISA O’KANE PEACE OF MIND RAISIN’ KANE RECORDS RK4129
This is Lisa’s 2nd Cd and the follow-up to “Am I Too Blue” which introduced her to chart success in Europe where she has becoming a favourite. Due to tour in the south of England this year she will no doubt garner many followers there too. She co-writes 5 of the 14 tracks here with Mark Fosson who also contributes another 6 songs, plays guitars, mandolin, banjo, spoons, dulcimer, and even sings harmony. Jay Dee Maness guest on steel guitar on 2 songs, and Gabe Witcher plays fiddle on 2 more, while songwriter Edward Tree plays various guitars and dobro as well a holding it all together with great production. Having spoken about these great musicians I have to say that the voice is the most striking aspect of the Cd for me. She covers virtually every aspect of country and Americana music here, traditional country, folk, bluegrass, roots, and even a touch of Gaelic on “Highland Ground” and her voice reflects the mood of every song as does the musical arrangements. Time a major label snapped this talent up and give her the exposure worldwide that she deserves. Her new single Foggy River came out on 1st September, Another great collection from Lisa and its available from www.lisaokane.com
SONGS:- No tomorrow-Foggy River-Long Gone-Settle Down-Stranger than your memory-Peace of mind-Wrap me up-A room up for rent-Little white lies-Softer place to fall-Coercion street-Everyone says goodbye-Sometimes-Highland Ground.
DEIRKS BENTLEY CAPITOL 7243-5-39814-0-2
Already Dierks has hit the dizzy heights of a country No 1 with his debut single “What was I thinking” and followed that with the hit “My Last Name” both from this eponymous titled CD. And there’s more to come here single wise I’ ll bet. He writes and co writes 11 of the 13 songs with Steve Bogard, Ronnie Rogers, Harley Allan and others with Ken Mellons co-writing one and Buddy & Julie Miller the other. Brett Beavers produces the album as well as co-writing 5 songs and holds the session musicians on a tight lease. The Del Mc Coury Band guest on “Train Travelling” giving the album a bluegrass feel on the final track, and who knows this could be the ground work for a future album. Great touch. In the main its solid country with great guitar work, steel and dobro from Mike Johnson and fiddle from Glen Duncan on most tracks. The voice is distinctive and the arrangements fill the void musically across the spectrum from simple melodic sounds to that unique sound a good country studio band deliver. Never over-produced, it just flows and is most enjoyable. Honky tonk, dance music, love songs, all you could wish from a modern country album. On this showing Dierk’s future look bright.
OTHER SONGS:- Wish it would break-forget about you-I can only think of one-Bartenders etc-Is anybody loving you these days-My love will follow you-How am I doing-Distant shore-I bought the shoes-Whiskey Tears.
KELLY LANG IT’S ABOUT TIME DESTINY ROW RECORDS-via B.S.W Records
Kelly Lang may be a new name to us here in the UK but at the age of 15 she charted on Billboard Country Charts with Lady Lady and became a regular on the Morning TV show in Nashville hosted by Ralph Emery. Kelly writes 9 of the songs here with some co-writes and adds Bruce Channel’s Party Time, Randy Newman’ s Feels Like Home and the Jim Collins-Sandy Ramos song These are them to fill the CD with 12 songs. It opens with a tribute song to Conway Twitty, the self-penned Goodbye Darling a sincere and powerful ballad underlined by John Hughey’s haunting steel guitar. (John was Conway’s steelie for many years and Kelly’s Dad was Conway’s Road Manager for many years. The next 3 songs are all love ballads, delivered with a strong vocal performance. Then Party Time (with guests) and delivered with a party atmosphere, changes the mood. Single Mother bemoans that life-style, then back to another love ballad with Feels like Home, The bluesy These are them shows another side to Kelly’s vocal ability. The album closes with the self-penned country gospel feel-good song, (the only real up tempo track in this collection) Down on my Knees. It’s a fine album well recorded with Kelly’s vocal outstanding and the excellent contribution of producer and musicians should not be overlooked. www.kellylang.net for more details on Kelly and how to get a copy.
OTHER SONGS:-Something ‘bout you-You complete me-Down in Destin’- He’s too good to be blue-Looking Down-When we loved here.
BRAD COTTER PATIENT MAN EPIC EK92559
"Nashville Star" winner 2003 (Country’s US Pop Idol show without the hassle of watching it here) and Epic recording artist Brad Cotter released his debut album Patient Man in the US on July 6th last and made its debut in the Top Ten of the Billboard Country Album chart. The first single “I meant it” topped the singles charts earlier this year. The album is co-produced by Steve Bogard and Rick Giles, who also contribute 2 of the 10 songs while Brad co-writes 5 with Steve & Rick. The emphasis is certainly on the vocal contribution from Brad singing grade A songs with a contemporary backing from Top session players at the peak of their performance. The tight-knit band of keyboards guitars and percussion has the addition of steel, fiddle and mandolin on some tracks. It’s a lovely blend of instrumentation surrounding the remarkable voice of this newcomer who can hold a ballad with the best. Being signed to a major record company ensures the best production, songs, musicians and promotion, but the talent has to be there to let the rest all fall into place and on this recording he has an assured future. Great debut release, get your own copy now and support a great new COUNTRY talent, he deserves it.
SONGS:-I meant it-Can’t tell me nothing-Patient man-I miss me-High on love-Rock & Roll in the hay-Hard to be a rock-I came here to live-Blue collar night-I’ve got time.
SALLY BARRIS - LITTLE VOICE -ROLL TAPE & SING RECORDS
This is Sally’s 2nd release, her follow-up to Reluctant Daughter and it marks a change of direction, gone the commercial flavoured MOR sound replaced by an “almost” acoustic set. There’s guitars (acoustic, electric, slide and steel), mandolin and violin, bass, drums and percussion (conga shaker, tambourine) and keyboards from top session players like Colin Linden ( who also produces and engineers), Russ Paul, Andrea Zonn, Richard Bell, Mark Jordan, and others who all give of their best. Sally had major success as a songwriter with Some things I Know (Lee Ann Womack) and Martina McBride recorded her Reluctant Daughter song, as well as cuts by Kathy Mattea, Kate Mackenzie, Pierce Pettis and others. She writes the 11 songs here , 5 solo songs, and 4 co-writes with Jesse Alexander (a new name to watch out for) plus one each with Liz Rose and Burton Collins. Her wistful voice floats the songs across the CD, with gentle fill ins by guitars and keyboards, steel guitar and violins. Its more and electric folk Americana styled album, probably best enjoyed late night with your favourite friend and beverage to hand. I had to tell someone what I did last night, There you are, Some things I know and Holding Back your love are standout tracks for me. Further details from www.maverick-country.com
OTHER SONGS:-The song you know by heart-Something missing-Midnight ride to Mississippi-Little Voice-Butterfly-Where is my love-I sang to the river.
THE ATHERTON BROTHERS- ANGUS WOODHEAD RECORDS
Greg and Dan Atherton hail from Queensland and they write all 12 songs on this their latest international release. (Greg writes 11 and Dan the 12th). As a harmony duo they sound distinctive and the CD has a real down home feel to it. The Old Verandah, Swagman, Dingo and The Country Music Muster all conjure up the Australian musical image we associate with earlier country recordings from Down under by Slim Dusty, Reg Poole and others. However this CD is certainly a step up from that folksy style, with good quality songs, modern instrumentation and great delivery as on Dreaming Dreams, Just for you, Red Red Roses sweet wine and you and Caribbean Daydreams. The musicians include a variety of guitars, mandolin, drums, keyboards, percussion, banjo, didgeridoo violin, viola, and even steel drums for the Caribbean feel. The song Swagman was a chart success for the Webb Bros, and a finalist in the Mildura Song Contest and at Tamworth. The Old Verandah and Dreaming Dreams are also finalist in another song contest. The vocal on the album from Greg & Dan is the highlight for me along with their songs mentioned above. The Cd is available direct via e-mail from [email protected]
OTHER SONGS:-Cajun sound-Going out tonight-Rock and roll blues -Dingo -Willy wagtail song.
RACHAEL WARWICK - MAVERICK - IMPRESSIVE RECORDS
Rachael came to our attention recently on the Country Hot Disc with Mistake her debut single taken from this 6 track CD (it reached No 14 on 9th September).She is billed as an “English alt-country singer songwriter”. The recordings were done at Emerald Studios in Nashville produced by Mark Moffatt (Australian award winning producer), using musicians who are basically the Reba McIntyre Band (so faultless production and great musicianship assured then) and it is. The Nashville Rage magazine places Rachael between Shania Twain and Casey Chambers looking like Angelina Jolie and I can’t disagree with that. She writes a good song and can sing them well with strong vocals and great delivery. She is a great prospect and again I agree with Stuart Cameron (Country Hot Disc) when he calls her “The UK’s Next New Hope”. The 6 track Cd runs for 23 minutes nearly as long as some 10/12 track currently on sale. On this showing a full Cd on a major label should be the next step. Further details on the web www.rachaelwarwick.com no MISTAKE, RACHAEL WARWICK is IMPRESSIVE
SONGS:- Ask me no questions-Thank you-Angel-Cowboy-Mistake-Highway 109.
ANTHONY MICHAEL JAMES - OLD FRIENDS - V-TONE RECORDS 1572.
Newcomer Anthony Michael James ( herein after referred to as AMJ) bursts on the scene with this 10 song debut CD which runs for 36 minutes and is packed full of country goodies. Following the success of his single Sweet Sarah which reached No 5 in June on the Hot Disc Chart, (it’s a soft sad story song).He comes from Pennsylvania but this was recorded in Dallas Texas using great session players there. AMJ co-writes 6 of the songs, while Doug Deforest co-writes 9.Doug also co-produces, engineers some, plays bass throughout, and even sings some backup harmony. There’s a lovely string arrangement on Old Friends but the remainder is guitars, fiddle, steel, mandolin, banjo, dobro, violin, viola, keyboards, piano drums etc, Its 100% country great arrangements ,great songs too, all well sung by a singer who knows his craft. Its all balanced nicely with a variety of tempos, ballads, shuffle, mid & up tempo, and other gems. First one to Know should be the next single from the CD and if not by AMJ give it to Strait or Jackson to take it to the charts. It’s a great song and along with Sweet Sarah and After School, they stand out as the best of a great bunch. www.anthonymichaeljames.com
OTHER SONGS:-Steel stampede-Flesh & Bone-Whole Lot of you-Without you-One More Goodbye -Let me.
SISTERS WADE - WALLS OF TIME - SERAPH RECORDS SR 1486
Right from the first bluesy dobro notes and the first vocal line with perfect harmony, I just knew I was in for a musical treat with this 11 song CD. And I was not disappointed. Its great, traditional Country with a folksy almost bluegrass feel fiddles, mandolin, acoustic guitar, bass and drums do all the music. The voices blend so well they sound as one at times. They sound like the Judds on an outstanding version of Walls of Time written by Bill Munroe & Peter Rowan,and again on Heartbreak Hill written by Emmy Lou Harris & Paul Kennerley. Debbie Wade writes on 6 songs2 by herself,3 with sister Julie and 2 others. Troublemaker by Suzi Ragsdale & Verlon Thompson, Oh Atlanta is by Mick Ralph and Call of the Wild is by Allan Shamblin & Wayne Kirkpatrick. He won’t talk about it is a remarkable story song while One Suitcase is another oozing sadness and these show off their song writing ability to perfection. Great songs, musicians, production and voices make this worth seeking out for its as sheer enjoyment. www.sisterswade.com for more details and availability.
OTHER SONGS:-Baby I’m through with you-There will come a day-Please let me in-See it in your eyes
KEL-ANNE BRANDT - I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD - CARMEL BAY MUSIC KAB 03032
Nominated as Female Country Performer of the Year 2003 last June, and again last October in different awards in Australia, guesting on Country TV in February 04 and charting with Rodeo eyes on various country charts gives Kel-Anne her big intro into country worldwide. This Cd is produced by John Beland who has worked with Dolly, Linda Rondstadt, Kristofferson and Rick Nelson over the years,and he also writes 3 of the 12 songs. Included also is John Fogerty’ s Have you seen the rain,Christy McVie’s Say you love me, Phil Spector’s Then He Kissed me and I’m sure we all remember Herman’s Hermits with I’m into Something Good which is the title track( albeit a different version of a great song).The only Nashville Country song is I Know a Heartache written by Charlie Black & Rory Bourke and the |Cd closes with Frankie Lymon’s Why do fools fall in love. Legend in the Making is a duet with Brian Cadd who also wrote that song. While this is aimed at the main Australian market which is a mix of MOR,Pop, country Aussie etc etc I doubt if it will sit too well with the country music fan in Europe due to its mainly MOR content. It’s a shame really as it’s a well produced faultless recording with a lovely vocal from a gifted singer who has a great voice. I would love to hear Kel-Anne with 12 “country” songs, recorded by the same producer and musicians.
OTHER SONGS:-Let him dance-Rodeo Eyes-Lies-Shame on you-Only with you.
HENRY SMITH… HELLO DJ… DIAMONDROADS RECORD SDRRCD001
Reading born Henry is currently one of the more popular bands travelling across the country at club and festival level. He takes his band of musicians into a studio and they record “as live” all the songs (24) for these 2 Cds, released together but available separately. Henry writes one song Hello DJ for CD 1and one more Your Love for CD 2. The remaining 22 songs are all covers, deviating little from the original recordings apart from the occasional tempo change to suit dancers. The songs on No 1 range from Make the world go away to Bartender Barstools and Barmaids with a heavy leaning towards Garth and Alan who are obviously his mentors. The songs on No 2 run from the title track to Its 5 o’clock somewhere and again the leaning is all American songs, with the accent noticeable at times. No doubt Henry includes most of these songs ( if not all of them) on his stage sets and on seeing the song list I can see why he is as popular in country clubs. I found the production weak and with little variety, better use could have been made of the instrumentation with an independent producer and Henry should seriously consider the production side next time. However they do make for pleasant listening and I’m sure these will be consistent sellers at his gigs. You can contact him via e-mail at [email protected]_ (mailto:[email protected]) OTHER SONGS:- If tomorrow never comes-Hole in ther wall-Help put out the rain-Silver wings-I just want my baby back-One of these days-Thunder rolls-No place like home-I don’t even know your name
HENRY SMITH… WELCOME TO MY WORLD - DIAMONDROADS RECORD DRRCD002
OTHER SONGS:-The dance-Would you believe me if I lied-Thank God for the radio-You look so good in love-Don’t close your eyes-Job description-Just to see you smile-Friends in low places-Its now or never.