GRANT...A DREAM COME TRUE...ROSETTE RECORDS
Following the successes Isla's had over the last three years in Ireland
with her releases there, CMR have now licensed her albums to the recently
formed Rosette Records for release in mainland UK. Here's the first on
3 new releases, her most recent recording, now double platinum in Ireland
and already a top ten hit album there. 14 songs in all from Isla's pen
running for over 51 minutes makes for value, but content is the most important
feature. Once again it's recorded in Greenfield Studios in Galway, Ireland,
with the same production team and musicians as on her other albums. Having
found the formula for success there, why change it. The opening track
is a lovely Irish ballad about the 'Circle Of Gold', while the tempo changes
for the title track 'It's A Dream Come True'. More love songs follow with
'You're Always There For Me' and the catchy waltz 'Will You Love Me'.
The folk song 'Island Of Memories opens with the time whistle, and I can
see Isla closing her stage show with 'We'll Meet Again My Friends' and
I'm sure other artistes will adopt this song for the same reasons. More
love songs follow with 'Keeper Of My Heart', 'I Miss The Biggest Part
Of Me' and 'My World Revolves Around You'. 'Within My Fathers Arms' is
another family oriented song, while 'Spending Time With Friends' also
needs no explanation. The folksy 'This Wonderful Land' could apply to
either Scotland or Ireland, while 'Fiddle On The Wall' is again one for
the family and I loved the tempo change. Isla closes with another gospel
song 'Precious Lord'. Overall I have to say if you liked her other albums
you'll like this one too, and like the others, I have to say here's another
OUTSTANDING CD from Isla Grant. (AND THERE'S MORE MISSUS).
ISLA GRANT...CLASSIC DOUBLES...ROSETTE RECORDS
This is a double CD and a straight re-issue of 'ONLY YESTERDAY' from 1999
plus 'MOTHER' from 2001, both in one package. 14 songs on CD1 and 15 on
CD 2. Isla has written all the songs and there's more than a hint of folk
music included. Lovely arrangements throughout and full marks to all the
musicians who play on both CDs. Isla's voice has that lovely Scots/Irish
lilt to it that makes the crossing from country to folk and back believable
and with great ease.
CD 1 opens with Isla sharing 'Partners In Rhyme' with Johnny McEvoy in
a lovely duet. He also sings harmony on the other songs when called upon. 'Will
You Walk With Me' is a catchy bouncy country gospel song. 'Only Yesterday' a
beautiful ballad, 'Love Me Tonight' is country with that Irish quick step sound,
while 'Like You Always Could Do' is an Irish waltz tempo with dobro and mandolin.
Then there's 'A Single Yellow Rose' and 'What's A Girl To Do' both country heartbreakers.
'Over The Years' is a travelling song, and the CD closes with another lovely
country gospel song 'He's There For Me'. CD 2 was reviewed back in the Aug/Sep
issue and I'll quote from that review.."this could be called Isla Grant's
greatest hits".."newly recorded in Co. Galway with the cream
of Irish musicians giving their all".."Isla has the gift of
telling a story in song"...I summed it all up with the word OUTSTANDING
and I'll stick by that, as it now applies to both CDs. Songs include Listen to
the Children/Mother/Mother's Chair/Cottage In The Country/There's Nothing New
I'm Missing You/Life's Storybook Cover/Til The Day That He Met You and 8 others.
ORIGINAL LOUISIANNA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES...CLASSIC
GOSPEL RADIO SUNDOWN/TKO MAGNUM RECORDS
collectors item for you. It's the next in the series of radio cuts from the famed
Loiusianna Hayride between 1946 and 1969. This one is a selection of country
gospel songs from various artistes. 20 tracks from Eddie Arnold, Roy Acuff, George
Jones, T. Texas Tyler, Red Foley, The Louvin Bros, Cowboy Copas, Johnny & Jack & Kitty
Wells, The Deep South Quartet, 2 songs from the Plainsmen Quartet and 4 from
the Jordanaires. The songs include popular classics like 'The Family Bible',
'He'll Understand', 'I Saw The Light', 'He Lifted Me', 'Deck Of Cards', 'What
A Friend', 'He's Got The Whole World' and 'Peace in The Valley' rounds out the
50 minute CD. Interesting to note that Mallie Ann and Rose Maddox are the only
female vocalists on the CD, apart from Kitty Wells singing with Johnny and Jack.
This is a good collection of what we now call 'vintage' country, and it's still
PATRICK FEENEY...I'LL FLY AWAY...GIG CD
This is a 4 track CD well presented and well produced. It features John Flatley
playing keyboards, rhyth & bass guitars and all programming. Electric guitar
is from Michael Buckton. John co-produces with Ronan Courell who also engineers
the recording. It's a first time release from Partick Feeney. The title track
'I'll Fly Away' and the 'Old Rugged Cross' are the two middle songs with 'Will
You Love Me' as the opener in waltz tempo and 'The Next Time We're In Town' as
a closing quick step. Patrrick's voice is rather sharp to my ear and his diction
at times a little unclear.
Having said that, I can see no other reason why this should not appeal to the
Irish-Country lover, more than to the country music fan. No song details available
although there are 2 blank pages in the sleeve, so I see no reason why the songwriters
would not receive their due credit. It's available from 0116 212 2353 and he
will be appearing at the Pontins Irish Festival in Southport on 31st July.
O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?...Soundtrack from the motion
picture ...UNIVERSAL RECORDS
How do you review the Country Album of the year, taken from the biggest motion
picture success of recent years, and probably one of Country's biggest selling
albums in years? It's also a 5 times award winner at the recent Grammy Awards,
including Album of the Year there too. You've probably heard some of the music
already on radio because this is certainly radio friendly. The variety of styles
and sounds keeps your interest all the way through, but I have to say that 4
versions of the one song (the award winning "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow")
on the same CD is not one of their better ideas. The tracks range from solo accapella
to full band, from voice and guitar recorded 'live' on the movie set to great
studio recordings. The Whites singing "Keep On The Sunny Sie", Gillian
Welch-Alison Krauss singing "I'll Fly Away", Emmy Lou Harris with Gillian
and Alison on "Don't Leave Nothing But The Baby" and the Cox Family
with "I Am Weary" are all great tracks with great harmonies. There
are 19 tracks and it runs for over 60 minutes. Much has been made about the CDs
success and the return to old timey/bluegrass/country music, but one has to bear
in mind that "one swallow does not a summer make". While there may
be a rush to record in the same vein, I doubt if many will have the success that
this album has had...and that success is well deserved.
DUANE MICHAELS...LITTLE BIT OF LOVE...TOP NOTCH RECORDS
After 11 years on the road Duane finally rea lised his ambition and life long
dream to become a recording artiste. Here're 10 songs recorded in the comfortable
setting of a Nashville studio. Tom Pick as engineer, producer Tommy Casassa and
7 musicians all giving of their best to make it all a success. Lead guitar from
Greg Galbraith, fiddle from Rob Hajacos, Mike Doucette plays steel and rhythm
guitars, Mike Leech on bass, Terry Feller on drums and Mike Schrimpf on piano
and B3 Organ. Hank Singer plays fiddle on 2 songs. Duane co-writes 2 songs with
Terry Heban who also writes one song himself. Producer Tommy co-writes 2 songs
and other songs are from Cindy Walker, Early Bud Lee, Steve McCorvey and others.
He rounds off the album with Paul Anka's 'Put Your Head On My Shoulder', and
vocally Duane reminds me of Narvel Felts at times. Overall a very pleasant listen.
His web site is www.duanemichaels.com
GEORGE LEE Jr & The Crazed Cowboys...IT
FEELS GOOD TO BE A COWBOY! CRAZED COWBOY RECORDS.23 tracks running for 73 minutes is certainly
value for money nowadays, and I suppose you can get this CD from their website www.crazedcowboys.com.
Tom Lee contributes 9 songs himself, 4 more with Chris Webb and another 3 with
Stuart Heck. There's one from Steve Kaspar and 6 covers. The band is a basic
four piece playing fiddle, lead and rhythm guitars, organ, drums, bass piano
and other instruments between them. There're 2 lead vocalists and one harmony
singer between them. It takes clever and talented musicians to pull of the "We're
Playing For Fun" trick, and this band have it in abundance. It's well produced,
the vocals are good, the songs all stand on their own as well written, and it's
a fun CD. The mixture of songs cover all the tempos and styles you can think
of (with the one exception of a waltz) and even adds "You Never Can Tell" (the
old Chuck Berry song) and Van Morrison'e "Brown Eyed Girl" for good
measure. Certainly worth a listen and I'd love to see this outfit perform 'live',
as I'm pretty sure they put on a good show.
KIM NOVAS...BLUE SKIES OVER GEORGIA...UNIVERSAL SOUNDRECORDS
"Former beauty queen/model and actress turns country singer" makes
a great headline. Kim is all that and more having lived and worked in Nashville
for seven years as a demo singer, background vocalist and commercials writer
and performer. She had 3 songs released some years ago as singles, and this is
the follow up album of 12 songs. The opening track and CD title (written by Mark
Mosely/Tom Hamilton) is a catchy country song, while 'Mama's Cedar Chest' with
its dobro opening is a memory based family story. She does the Walter Haynes
classic ballad 'Days That End In Y' and the Mark Mosley-Marie Lester Ballad 'Everybody's
Talking' full justice. Loved the change of pace with 'How Are You' and 'Big Bad
Wolf'. Great playing from the musicians who vary with the different sessions
and producers, but the overall sound is great. It may have been a long awaited
CD, but well worth the wait.
TIM HOLCOMB...COWBOY ON THE RUN...UNION COWBOY RECORDS
Singer-songwriter Tim comes up with a lovely laid back country album in the true
sense of the word country. Recorded at Padernales Studio in Spicewood, Texas,
it fetures an eight piece set of session players including the usual set of drums,
piano, steel and fiddle. Kimmie Rhodes is added as backup vocalist on some of
the songs along with Kira Small and Layton De Penning. Tim writes 7 of the 10
songs, Bristol Pete writes 2 more, 'Along For The Ride' and 'Another Single Day',
and then he covers the Buck Owen-Red Simpson song 'Gonna Have Love' to make up
the 10 songs. It runs for nearly 35 minutes. It's a nice mixture of ballads mainly
with the occasional Texas Shuffle and Texas Swing tune included. Produced by
Joe Gracey, he also engineered the sessions. The overall sound is pleasant listening
with great runs on fiddle and steel at times. The vocal is crystal clear and
very enjoyable. Should do well with a very radio friendly CD.
FREDDY LOVVORN...TOWN OF FEWER PEOPLE.. SIDEWINDER RECORDS.
Freddy first came to the notice of the UK and European audiences with 2 singles
on the EMS Euro Chart (plus a duet with Paul Mateki called 'Best Friends', which
also charted). Now the CD is available with 10 songs running for 32 minutes.
It's solid country with John Hughley on pedal steel guitar, Jim Unger and Pat
Atula on fiddles, Bill Gordy on bass. Mike Headrick guests on mandolin on one
song. This was recorded at different studios with different engineers, but the
sound stays remarkably unchanged. Good songs well sung and I thought he sings
the ballads 'As Long As I'm Dreaming' and 'Take That Smile From Your Face' particularly
well, loved the swing version of 'Crazy Arms' and 'I'll Take The Fall'.
Freddy is at www.sidewinderrecords.com.