Hi again, time for another glimpse into the recording world with another dozen (baker's dozen that is) CDs, one of them sure to get you to part with some of your own hard-earned….Let me quickly add that I don't compare one CD/Artiste to another, that's an impossible task, as you would need the different singers to sing the same songs with the same musicians to make a valid comparison, and the CDs reviewed are NOT in any order of preference...... UPDATE:Brad Johner who's CD I reviewed last time is now nominated 6 times in the Canadian Country Music Awards 2006, as Independent Male Artist of the Year and Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Independent Single of the Year and CMT Video of the Year for "I've Got It Good" and Album of the Year for "Summertown Road", and his stable mate Marlee Scott is also nominated in the same awards (see below)……Now let me start this month with some home-grown talent deserving a mention………

Back in January and February 2004 the first tracks from this album “Sweetheart darling of mine” and “If you want me” surfaced on the Country Hot Disc bringing Janey to a wider country audience around Europe. Fife based vocalist and songwriter Janey continues her strong singing career in club-land and theatres over the last 24 years (even supporting Sydney Devine for a while). Those 2 songs along with 2 more “Love ain't gonna wait for us” and “Silver Wings and Golden Rings” were musically arranged by Jim Cassidy and became the basis of this album which has taken over a year to complete. This is her 1st CD and is produced by Gus Black who also does the percussion, ably supported on guitar, bass & banjo by Iain Johnson, keyboards from Allan Cunningham, fiddle by Jennifer Clunie and accordion from Ray Carse. The inclusion of 3 songs by Bob Dylan “Senor”, “One more night” and “Farewell Angelina” fall well within the country arrangement here and Janey's own 4 compositions “Clubland singer” “How could you leave me now” “Too hot to handle” (co-written with Iain Johnson) and “Peace and comfort” show her talent as a songwriter. The arrangements on the standards stay true to the originals with a little variation here and there musically adding to the overall good time feel of the CD. She shows her vocal versatility on k.d.lang's “Big boned gal” and rocks a little on her latest single “What did love ever do to you” which has just entered the Hot Disc Country Chart (10th August). I like the acoustic guitar on “Who were you thinking of” and the arrangement on “Pancho & Lefty”. The album closes with “Peace & Comfort” a sad gentle ballad with lovely harmony from Janey. Overall a well crafted country CD with quality and class in abundance from a great vocalist with the promise of a continued strong career in country. Check out www.janeykirk.co.uk or you can telephone 01592 716252.(15 songs 52 min).

This is only May & Mackie Sutherland's 3rd release since they came together in 1987. This mix of original and lesser known covers was recorded in Shetland, Orkney and Nashville and the recording is seamless. Nashville players include drummer Kenneth Harcus, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Steve Hinson on steel guitar and Douglas Montgomery on fiddle on the song “What if we fly”. Phillip Anderson sings back-up vocal, plays outstanding lead guitar plus keyboards and mandolin, Mackie sings lead vocal on 6 songs, harmony, and guitar and May shares the lead vocal on the other 6, and adds harmony while daughter Rhonda sings backup on 2 songs “That's the kind of mood I'm in” and “You'll never be the sun”. Both May & Mackie's vocal talent are much to the fore here and their quality vocals reach great heights. The great blend between their voices (best on “The time has come” and “Easier done than said“) only comes from experience and on the strength of what's on this CD they are currently performing at their peak. I found the 4 original songs the standout tracks on this CD, well crafted songs, great arrangements and wonderful musicianship. “Coming Home” and “When I called to say hello” would fit on any Nashville singers list of songs to record, while the fast paced title track “Long way down the road” could open any country singers show. “Baby I need you” is a strong love ballad well written and sung, with great guitar bridge solo. This in no way detracts from anything else on the album and Springsteen's song “Lucky Town” and Delores Keans' “You'll never be the sun” sit nicely with this country feel. There's something for everyone here, all country with great use of steel and fiddle. This may have been a long time coming but it is certainly worth the wait.
OTHER SONGS:- Kindly keep it country-What if we fly-The last thing on my mind. (12 songs 42 minutes).

Few realise that Cindy Walker had a short-lived career as a singer and recording artiste, despite becoming one of the best known writers of classic country songs like Bubbles In My Beer, The Warm Red Wine, I Was Just Walking Out The Door, Distant Drums, Anna Marie, This is it and You Don't Know Me plus many more over the years. Her talent knew no stylistic boundaries and she wrote dozens of great pop songs also. Born in Mart, Texas, in 1918 she began writing songs in her teens, getting her big break on a trip to California in 1940. While there she made film shorts and recordings with Texas Jim Lewis and impressed Bing Crosby's brother Larry, who placed Lone Star Trail with Bing. In 1941 she joined Bob Wills and signed a contract with Decca. She recorded with Spike Jones for Standard Radio and it is from these radio transcriptions 1944-45 that the first 15 tracks of this collection are drawn. Almost all are Walker originals some better known through versions by others like Al Dexter's Triflin' Gal, and I Hear You Talkin' with Bob Wills' Texas Playboys from a 1942 Columbia western movie. Seven more songs come from her Decca recordings 1942 and 44 and the last 2 are from Jewel recordings with the Duece Spriggins' Western Band. She was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1997 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1970 and sadly died in March 2006. She said herself she was a reluctant singer, but I can't see any reason for her career being so short lived. She had the voice, the talent, the looks and the backing from her friends and family, but if the hunger is not there, its all for nothing. Reluctant or not, this is a fine collection from a wonderful singer and songwriter. You can order direct at www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com or by Tel:- 01304 205000 .
SONGS:-You'll be sorry-Don't meddle in my mood-I'm tickled pink because you're blue-Weary heart-Texas with a capitol T-till the end of time-You have no one to blame but yourself-You can't break the chains of love-No more(1) -I want to go to Mexico-Love is a lingering thing-Me and the moon aren't speaking-If I knew what I know today-No more (2)-Don't be so sure- It's all your fault-It never can be-Why don't I trust the men-Now or never-When my blue moon turns to gold again-Pin & Needles in my heart-Don't talk to me about men.
(24 songs 62 min.)

Wilma Leigh Leary and Dale Troy Cooper were a husband and wife team whose musical output fell between two stools, Old-Time and Bluegrass, but it would be true to say that, together with their backing group The Clinch Mountain Clan, they ploughed their own furrow in terms of creating an identifiable sound. One has only to listen to such songs as There's A Big Wheel, Big Midnight Special and Cheated Too, to realise that Wilma and Stoney were innovators with one eye on the commercial market but otherwise deeply entrenched in the roots of genuine hillbilly mountain music. Despite their line-up of fiddle, Dobro, mandolin and banjo, Wilma and Stoney were not averse to using thumping drum sounds to emphasise the appeal of songs”” so starts the liner notes on this CD from Bryan Chalker and it sums up their sound and style in one paragraph. Wilma was part of the Leary Family Band when Stoney joined as fiddle player. They married in 1939 and split away from The Family to form their own band. In the mid 40's they joined the Wheeling Jamboree for 10 years, joining Columbia records in 1949. They joined Hickory Records and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1957 and had their first top 5 hits in 1959 with 3 songs, Come walk with me, Big midnight special and Don Gibson's There's a big wheel. Stuart Hamblen's This Ole House gave them a hit in 1960 and The Wreck on the Highway in 1961. If you want to see what songs were popular during 49 to 55 just look at the song titles included here. Steel guitar is added to the later recordings and Al Terry replaces Stoney on 3 songs closing the CD, We make a lovely couple, This crazy crazy world and I've been cheated too. This is a super collection showing the popularity of one of Country's most enduring duos, and while you may not like their in-between style, you cannot fault their talent or longevity. You can order direct at www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com or by Tel:- 01304 205000.
OTHER SONGS:-Thirty pieces of silver-Moonlight on West Virginia-No one now- On the banks of the river-The white rose-Faded love-Golden Rocket-Walking my Saviour up Calvary Hill-All on account of you-Stoney ( are you mad at your gal) Sunny side of the mountain-You tried to ruin my name-I cried again-Bamboozled-Can you forget-Each season changes you-Just a while-How it hurts to cry alone.(22 songs 60 min)

Claire takes her touring band, Jim Hurst on guitar and harmony vocals, Missy Raines on acoustic bass and David Harvey on mandolin into the studio, and records a stunning collection of 12 songs for this, her latest for Rounder and her 5th for the label. While the trio is outstanding, adding guest musicians Andrea Zonn and Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Alison Brown and Charlie Cushman on banjo, Rob Ickes on dobro and Larry Atamanuik on drums on two songs is, in Claire's own words, “the icing on the cake”. Claire co-writes 2 of the songs, the tender Long After I'm Gone, with Pat Alger (which Claire dedicates to her children Kegan and Christy), and River Of Dreams with Jess Leary and writes I Believe In Forever herself, an inspirational song in which she declares her faith and dedicates it to her mother. The CD opens with Pat Alger and Austin Cunningham's Be Ready To Sail which sets the tone for the album, and lets you realise straight away what a great Cd you've got in store. Other titles like Train Long Gone from the pen of Dennis Linde speaks of losing love, Love Will Find You Again, written by Pierce Pettis and Lindy Roberts is one of the many high points, and Down In The Valley is a wonderful going home song, beautifully delivered. For variety listen to Claire's “Fallin in Love” by Henry Hipkens and feel the jazz effect even on the vocal. Charlie's racing banjo intros Leaving on that Evening Train and gentle fiddle and acoustic guitar intros Only Passing Through, written by Mac Mcannally. Credit must also be given to the harmony vocalists Jim Hurst, David Harvey, Missy Raines (and Ben Surratt, who also engineers the CD, on 2 songs).The production credits goes to Claire and with this faultless production she must garners all that's going. Her superb voice shines right across the songs and places her at the forefront of her chosen career. Let's hope it's not another 6 year wait for the follow-up. It's a great album and will send you looking for her previous CDs. They are all still available, details on her web site at www.clairelynch.com   OTHER SONGS:-Up this hill and down-White train-River of Dreams.   (12 songs, 42 minutes)

Fifteen years ago Aaron Tippin was the new kid on the Nashville block when his single “You've Got To Stand For Something,” (not included) with RCA Records, raced up the charts and became an anthem for the patriotic workingman and helped establish him as a country star with a long shelf life. He continued his promise selling five Gold albums and one Platinum, scored six top 10 hits, had two No. 1 records and memorable singles like “The Call of the Wild,” “I Got it Honest” and “Whole Lotta Love on the Line” (included here). He moved to Lyric Street Records in 1998 and scored with “For You I Will” and “I'm Leaving.” and moved into 2000 with the chart-toppers “Kiss This” (2000) and “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” (2002). He had his sixth Gold Record and first Academy of Country Music awards nomination. He has now signed with Rust Records in Nashville to reissue his hits and new material on his own label Nippit Records. His new CD Now and Then, has 3 new songs and 10 reissues of his best known. First off it‘s “Ready to Rock” (in a country way), his new single continuing his high energy country rock stance, followed by “I could not stop myself” fiddle and guitar country with power, and “He believed” a mid tempo patriotic song about his Dad delivered with great sincerity. Then its hits time with “Whole Lotta Love on the Line.” “Working man Phd” “The Call of the Wild,” “There ain't nothing wrong with the radio” “That's as close as I get to loving you” “I got it honest” “I wouldn't have it any other way” always favourites with his many fans. His gentler side is also here with “I wonder how far it is over you” “Honky Tonk Superman” is added for light entertainment and the collection closes with “My Blue Angel” another ballad winner in his early days. I also liked the short narrative between each track, Aaron talking about the hit song and the writers. On listening to this super CD it's hard to figure out the Nashville scene, as these recordings have everything required of today's performers, talent, style, voice, songwriting ability, fan base and even experience, so why is he not on a major label….but then are there any major labels left? If you missed Aaron first time around then here is your chance to catch up with some great country hits from a stylish and outstanding country singer. www.rustrecords.com is the web site. (13 songs, 50 minutes).

Burrito Deluxe, a tight-knit group of experienced roots, rock, country and blues musicians, is made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Carlton Moody, electric guitarist and vocalist Walter Egan, (a recent visitor to the Caithness Northern Nashville Festival), bassist Jeff “Stick” Davis, keyboards Richard Bell and drummer Bryan Owings. They recently spent July touring over this side of the Atlantic with dates in France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland and England, in their own right and on some dates with Lisa O' Kane. The album follows a tradition set by the Flying Burrito Bros, the Eagles and other of that ilk and is certainly NOT traditional as one usually regards country. But it is a country album, albeit a little heavy on the lead guitar & drums, taking it well into the rock country-country rock bracket as displayed on “Disciples of the truth“. The expression “taking no prisoners” springs to mind listening to that song. Carlton's great vocal sits on top of the (overplayed at times) instruments and he can deliver with the best of them. You can't fault the musicianship either so maybe a little less in the mix would have been better. Great harmonies and great songs too (but the writers, guest musicians on steel, fiddle, dobro, accordion, banjo etc and the female vocalist are not listed on my copy). Walter takes the lead vocal on the song “On a Roll” and their single “Encino” was a top 10 hit on the Hot Disc Chart in August. If you like quality country with “the edge” here it is, and it's been awhile since we got anything a good and as strong in country as this, from a quality band of musicians with a great front man. Check out “Midnight at a red light” if you don't believe me. Worth getting a copy or at least having a listen to their sound on their web site, where you can download sound clips at www.burritodeluxe.com or www.lunachicarecords.com (12 songs,49 minutes)
OTHER SONGS:-Out of the wilderness-Sun will rise-Front row seats to heaven-Wichita-When the summer's over-Down on you-Wrong side of town-Midnight at a red light-Who's gonna love you

Shane has the honour of being the first artiste on Rust Records, when they launches back in January in Nashville this year. He is another new name to me and is a solid country singer with a great delivery especially on the 3 slower songs displayed on this CD. “We're Onto something baby” “Forever” and “Bottom of the fifth”. The remainder of the songs fall into the up tempo-line dance-novelty- truckers songs, all about trucks, living in the fast lane and having a good time with down home country licks everywhere. Loads of gimmicky voice dubs that are slightly overdone at times, and while they add to the overall sound and track they get a little repetitious. I loved the swamp feel to “Ray Ray's” the story of a new out of the way backwoods juke joint and the right of passage song “Ain't doing that again” with great lyrics and guitar & fiddle work throughout. Shane co-writes that song and the first single from the album “Bottom of the fifth” with Kevin Wayne Waldrop who also writes “Forever” “Big Mother Trucker” and “Fast” while Shane also writes “Party on the river” solo. The musicians are a small bunch that includes Kevin Wayne on percussion and drums, Ilya Toshinsky on electric and acoustic guitar and banjo, steel guitar from Terry Wendt and James Shelton, bass Mike Greenwood and Robert Wright, Fiddle & mandolin Jimmy Mattingly, Piano Josh Rosen, Fiddle Wando Vick, Piano & Organ etc Jason Garner and while not known among the elite of super pickers they certainly can play. On the strength of this CD expect Wayne and his brand of country to be around for a while. I have to say also that it grows on you the 2nd time around. www.rustrecords.com is the web site for this one. (10 songs, 40 minutes)          OTHER SONGS:-Redneck-Short for gone.

Paulette is probably best remembered as the voice of Highway 101, who helped define country music in the late 80s with groundbreaking hits "Whiskey, If You Were A Woman," "The Bed You Made for Me," "Somewhere Tonight" and "Cry, Cry, Cry." The band won vocal group of the year from both the Academy and Country Music Assn. in 1988 and again in 1989. She left to pursue a solo venture in 1990, briefly reuniting with the band for its 10th anniversary in the mid 90s. Then she retired from recording and roadwork to Montana to become a wife and mother for 9 years. However she did write the song “Thank you VETS” in late 2004 and decided that the song needed to be recorded, so she recorded the song, plus 11 others and produced the album herself. Gathering around her some of the top session players Paulette was taking no chances and it pays off with outstanding musicianship from Eddie Bayers & Steve Brewster drums, Duncan Mullins bass, Gordon Mote & Dennis Burnside piano & keyboards, Gary Prim piano, Michael Spriggs acoustic guitar, JT Corenflos electric guitar & 6 string bass, Scotty Saunders steel and lap steel guitars and Glen Duncan fiddle. Paulette writes 9 songs herself and co-writes one other with Jeff Pearson (“He‘s funny that way”), while Mike Hanley's “My love is in America” and Wood Newton's “Twenty years ago” complete the collection. From the first notes and words of the opening song “I knew a good thing when I had it” the country sound and unique voice reminds you of the heady days back in the late 80's. Paulette has lost none of her sparkle vocally and her well crafted songs could well top the charts once again.Her new single “That old glass case” is out now and included here. There is a patriotic string running through some songs but not them all and if ever I heard a country hit it's with the song and the blistering fiddle guitar and piano breaks on “It's about time now” which closes the album. If there was “an award for the comeback kid of the year” it should go to Paulette. (She also recently appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and sang 3 songs).Check www.paulettecarlsonmusic.com & www.rustrecords (12 songs 49 minutes)
OTHER SONGS:- I wish you wouldn‘t stand so close-Cowgirl angel-Only in your dreams-She rides for the brand-Rejoice for the moment- (12 songs 49 minutes).

John hails from Fort Payne in Alabam and in 2003 entered the Nashville Star Talent Contest to find a future COUNTRY star. He didn't make the final but gets to record anyway and this debut album is nothing short of excellent (with lots of stars).While the Cd is dated 2004 is didn't surface until late 2005 and is another CD now available through Rust Records. He has an outstanding voice, with that husky lived-in sound and can turn his voice to the honky tonk songs (“Tear Jerkin Song” & “Crying like a baby”, deliver a smooth ballad with the best of them ( “Shame on me” & “Temporarily Disconnected”) and rock a little too (“Hell and Half of Georgia” “ NASCAR Mama” and “You oughta she her truck”).He writes or co-writes 6 of the songs , Tommy Barnes writes 2 more, and the other 4 are from Dewayne Strobel-Patrick Owens-Paul Roberts, Kevin Durham and co writers and one by Dewayne & Kevin. Not a bad song amongst them, lots of singles here and while John was not a winner in the contest his Cd is. Lovely steel and fiddles with keyboards and lap steel and loads of guitars all from top notch players recorded over various sessions and 19 players in all. Here's a stone-country singer who should have a future and with the right radio play in the US and around the world he could last for longer than most. www.tootsies.net or www.johnstone.com and www.rustrecords are the web pages. OTHER SONGS:-Do the math-The drive-You can't go home to mama-Better man.

Marlee Scott is nominated 6 times in the Canadian Country Music Awards 2006, due to take place in September as Rising Star, Female Artist of the Year, Independent Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Independent Single of the Year for “Fall In Love Too Fast“ and Album of the Year for this album “Souvenir”. How's that for an introduction to a new name who is not only a great singer but a very talented songwriter. The CD was recorded in Nashville with a great line-up of top session players creating a great country sound with a bright modern feel. Greg Morrow, Gary Lunn, JT Cornfloss, Joe Spivey, and Bruce Bouton play on 11 songs with Wayne Kilius, Danny Parks, Barry Walsh, Alison Prestwood, Bruce Bouton and Larry Franklin playing on 2 more songs “Life worth living“ and “What he doesn't know can‘t hurt him”. Its all produced by Steve Fox who also plays guitars and co-writes 7 while Marlee co- writes 9 of the songs (some with Steve).The main theme throughout the album is love; lost, found, reunited, unrequited, broken hearted, the night before and the morning after kind, all inter-weaved by a beautiful strong voice that draws the listener to the words, surrounded by quality musicianship making the overall sound a pleasure. I found the Cd very enjoyable and can easily understand why Marlee is nominated for so many awards. “My only souvenir” is her new single just out. Her web pages are at www.marleescott.com and www.306records.com(13 songs, 46 minutes)  OTHER SONGS:- My only souvenir -(Don't play) Track 3 - The old dancing man - We'll think of something - Wrapped up in your arms - Small town boy- Love enough - Real good start - I shouldn't be thinking 'bout you - Hang in there.

Carolina Road is a traditional bluegrass band and consists of 5 vocalists in Josh Goforth on fiddle, Benny Greene on banjo, David Guthrie on guitar, Lorraine Jordan on mandolin, Tim Hall on bass, (with guest Zack McLamb also on acoustic bass). The CD is produced by Steve Dilling and Lorraine. The bluegrass-rich area of North Carolina has produced some of the finest bluegrass bands touring the US circuit and Carolina Road must fall into that category. The band's new CD will delight any fan of bluegrass music. It's a fine mix of bluegrass standards interspersed with five original songs, “A Stop In Southport Towne” “Pickin with the Boys” & “ May's Store” written by Lorraine, “ My Heart's Cry” & “ I'm Not Alone” written by David Guthrie. The band members have been nominated for numerous awards by their fans and peers alike.Opening with Webb Pierces “Tupelo Country Jail” and Bill Monroe's “My Old Kentucky And You” they set the standard for what is to follow. “A Stop In Southport Towne” is a lovely story song about Melinda (who has the boat on the cover named after her) It's actually track 4 before we hear Lorraine sing “Pickin with the Boys”. The lead vocal on Jimmy C Newman's “Cry Cry darling” soars to falsetto while Eddie Maynard's Take me back to Kentucky raced along. Lorraine sings again on Tom T & Dixie Hall's “A Beautiful River of Life” with great acoustic guitar picking. The lovely harmonies in the band are on show again on the William Caswell/Sheb Wooley song “Portrait of the blues.” “I'm Not Alone” is a gentle paced Bluegrass gospel song, Carter Stanley's “I Just Think I'll Go Away” gets a new lease of life with Lorraine leading the vocal and her song “Mays' Store” is a story of down home life in rural areas. The CD closes with “My Heart's Cry” another fast paced song showing off their musical ability. This bluegrass album holds the tradition of bluegrass recording in good stead and one that the band and the bluegrass scene can be well proud of. www.bluecirclerecords.com for their web sites for more details and availability of the CD. (12 songs-31 minutes).

Nearly 20 years ago in 1987, Hank Jr. was named the CMA Entertainer of the Year and now in 2006 his name appears once again in that same category for the 40th Annual CMA Awards. Hank is also nominated for Vocal Event of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year; Video of the Year and Song of the Year for “That's How They Do It In Dixie,” starring Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, and Van Zant. This came about all because Curd reissued The Essential Collection, a 10 track Cd of the best of hank Jr PLUS 2 new songs, “Stirring it up” and “That's How They Do It In Dixie”. There is no doubt that Hank Jr is a country legend, some might even say bigger than his Dad, and his contribution to the music genre is awesome. Back in 1987 while accepting the award for Video of the Year he slyly remarked “I do sound too!” taking a dig at the lack of song, single and album awards, now it's all about getting played on radio and TV and Hank shows that he can still do it at even after collecting his bus pass. The big hits are included, “Family Tradition” “All my rowdy friends” “ A country boy can survive” “Whiskey Bent and hell bound” “ Tear in my Beer” (with his Dad ) “If heaven ain't a lot like Dixie” and “Born to boogie” while “Women I've never known” “Country state of mind” and “My name is Bocephus” round off this great collection. If by any chance you missed out on Hank Jr's hits over the years here's where you can restart and your collection .Interesting to note too that only 3 of the 12 songs here are not written by Hank Jr. Web site is www.hankjr.com or www.curb.com (12 songs 43 minutes)