Troy was born in California but grew up in Arkansas and turned to a full-time career in country music after his schooling. In late 1999 he made his first album for a local label, which brought him to the notice of European country fans through the EMS Chart. He debuted on the Country Hot Disc in October 2000. That same month he was signed by Colonel Buster Doss to Stardust Records in Nashville and the following year this CD was released. Since then all his singles from this CD have made the top ten while on 8th May 2003 his latest single and the CD title, hit No 1 giving Troy another No 1 Hit in Europe. A winner of numerous awards in Tennessee and Texas he is without a doubt stone country. His voice has that magical lilt that appeals to most country fans. It’s a cross between your favourite country singer and your other favourite country singer, if you know what I mean. Troy also co-writes 2 of the 12 songs while Buster co-writes seven and Kenny Beard co-writes three. It’s like a country album should be, lovely fiddles and steel guitars with a variety of styles reflected and a good mixture between ballads and up tempo songs. The production is spot on, a blend of instrumentation that never overshadows Troy’s outstanding voice, “the main attraction” on the album. 8 musicians plus one backup singer, all under the guiding hand of producer Buster Doss . I understand that Troy has already recorded 4 songs for his next album. You should get a copy of this and after you’ve heard it, you will want to order the next CD in advance. His web site is www.troycookjr.com
SONGS:- It’s long overdue-I still feel the same-I’m going nowhere-I’ll forgive you but I can’t forget-Today is going to be that someday- Movin’ out, -Movin’ up, Movin’ on- She loves romance-No can do-Packing up old memories-ready or not-You’ve changed-If only I were there

Billed as Europe’s king of Texas Dance Hall music with his band “Emsland Hillbillies”, Hermann lives in Germany, but travelled to Nashville to record this 14 track CD with veteran Tommy Hill as co-producer. The musicians include Buddy Emmons on steel, Hargus Robbins on piano, Pete Wade on guitar, Dave Smith on Bass, Buddy Spicher on fiddle, Gene Chrisman on drums and Michael Ballew on acoustic guitar and background vocal. With that line-up you expect a country sound and that’s exactly what you get, great musicianship and tight production. Guests include Norma Jean, Lois Johnson, David Frizzell, Michael Ballew, Marion Mohring, Herbert Fuhrs and The Callaways who also sing backup. The songs are in two separate categories, six of Hermann’s own songs and country covers. The covers include The Carter’s Foggy Mountain Top with Norma Jean, Rose of the Mountain from the Tubb songbook, Don Stover’s I ’d like to live it again, the Mosby`s Make a Left and Then a Right with Lois Johnson, (Porter Wagoner’s sig tune) Y’all Come, That’s all it took (George Jones Classic) and In my reply and Faithful both originally recorded by Linda Rondstadt. (Marion sings both of these duets with Hermann & Herbert in that’s order). His own songs are probably as good as the covers, and had any of his songs been recorded years ago, they would have all been “classic” by now. He is a gifted songwriter with a great way with lyrics. Available at www.hermannlammersmeyer.de
OTHER SONGS:- When Angels fall-She dances alone-Bear Creek Lounge-What took you so long - Best part of nothing with David Frizzell-Step by Step

Billy Walker’s latest is to be his last release in a long and successful career in country music. For his farewell album Billy has chosen songs that have appealed to him over the years plus some he has written with his song-writing friend Bob Feldman. Its an eclectic collection starting with Billy’s Tribute to Bob Wills (Two Tickets To Texas Tonight), a sequel to Charlie ’s Shoes (Whose shoes are these), a Wynn Stewart Classic (Faded Lights and Lonesome People), a Merseybeats / David Bowie / Beatles hit (Sorrow), and the catchy novelty song “I saw Elvis at Wal-Mart”. In between there are lovely ballads as only Billy can sings them (Oh Yes There Will - Please break my heart again - Bluegrass Lady - Bad thing about a good memory). To round it all off theres outstanding renditions of Paul Westmoreland’s “Detour” and Dave Kirby’s “ Jesse”, and a Cajun flavoured dual-tempo song “Louisiana Waters” Great musicianship from a collection of tried and tested Nashville session players, lead, rhythm, bass and steel guitars, piano, fiddles and drums and knockout session singers. The sleeve notes are well done too with a short biography from Billy expressing his career thanks to just about everyone he remembered to mention. All in all lovely sleeve design and presentation. Billy certainly chose well for his final CD but on a personal note Billy, “don’t forget you will need to encore this CD”, and from Scotland, “Thank You, Thank You Very Much”. Contact Billy via e-mail at [email protected] or write to Tall Texan Records, P.O. Box 618, Hendersonville, Tennessee, TN37077,USA

This is Paula’s 7th CD, another collection of country and Irish standards with 21 tracks running for over an hour. This is not aimed at the purist country market, more the middle of the road and country fan who likes to buy value for money CDs with popular and recognisable songs. There are plenty of them on here, all well sung and performed with the Irish country band sound, even the showband sound at times. (Sadly the song credits and the musicians and production credits are not added and they should be, as the musicians and the producer do a sterling job ). But don’t let that fact detract from an otherwise excellent album. Paula never overstretches her voice (reminding me of Philomena Begley at times) and stay well within her boundaries. It’s a pleasure to listen to and I’m sure will be quickly snapped up by her many fans. Paula’s last European Top Ten single “Say you love me”, which reached No 4, is included. Its available from Irish Records & Video Supplies, Tel No; 02887 722963 for a free catalogue, or check out Paula’s web site at www.paulamacaskill.co.uk
SONGS:-Part of the journey - A mother ’s place-Good to see you - A single yellow rose - Island of Tiree - Say you love me - Galway Bay -Medley (Take these chains from my heart/Have I told you lately/Have you ever been lonely/Little old wine drinker) - Ancient History - Dark Island - One day at a time - It still takes a woman - Wind beneath my wings - Just out of reach - Stop the world - An Irish harvest day - Goodbye my friends - Mother.

Vernon needs no introduction to country music fans of my generation here in Scotland, but probably does to the next. When did you last hear one of his songs on the radio? When did you hear he had a CD released?, it’s certainly been some time. Everett Corbin a noted journalist, songwriter and novelist (Storm Over Nashville) took Vernon into a Nashville Studio, back in 1979, surrounded him with high class ‘country’ pickers and let them loose with 12 country songs. Everett writes 9 of the songs while Owen Priester Jr. writes 3 and the CD runs for 32 minutes approx. Now Vernon has been likened to the late Hank Williams by more than one listener, and while he was regarded as TOO COUNTRY some years ago he is certainly missed on country radio in the UK. His unmistakable voice still has that nasal quality and resonance that endeared him to many here in Europe. The tight band of country musicians include Tommy Floyd on bass, Eddie Stuteville on lead, Bill Johnson on steel, D.J.Fontana on drums, Benny Kennerman on piano and Bruce Watkins on Fiddle and rhythm guitar. The songs run the gamut of country feelings and tempos even a gospel song or two included. It’s a wonderful example of country music like is used to be and should be today, a treasure of country that deserves great exposure. However being that the record company is Independent it will be hard to find unless you go direct to Homestead Records at PO Box 100, Brighton, Michigan, 48116, USA or you could e-mail Everett a[email protected]
SONGS:-Walkin’ my blues away-If kisses could talk-Gonna ease my worried mind-The great stone face-Let your light shine-I love to sing-No one is listening -I think living is sweet-Turn the record over-Somebody to
love me-Rainy Day-A blanket of stars

Songwriter Everett Corbin takes some of his own compositions, recorded by himself and a variety of different artistes to give us this 20 track compilation CD which runs for 55 minutes. Variety is the keyword here as the collection opens with his cousin Owen Priester Jr singing “If Kisses Could Talk” , recorded back in 56, the same session that gives us Everett singing “Lay that pistol Down” “ A blanket of stars” and “Death & Taxes”. His Tribute song to Vernon Oxford “He’s an Unknown Superstar” was recorded in 1979, the same day that Vernon recorded “I Love To Sing” “ The Great Stone Face” and “I think Livin Is Sweet” also released on the CD above. Dick Flood sings and yodels on “Ole Lady Blues” and Randy Fincher sings “Slippin Kisses”. With a song each, Diane Carnes sings “I’ve lost him to a Honky Tonk”, Jo Ann Marvec sings “I don’t want the Ring” and Shirley Lee asks “Do you have a Handkerchief to Spare”. Bluegrass singer Carl Story recorded one of Everett’s songs “Green Pastures and Blue Skies”. SPEER appears to be a male/female duo as the male sings 2 songs (The Blue Snow of Winter and Make and Appointment) and the female sings “Please put down the Toilet Seat”. The Plowman sings “Mama Pulled The Plough” and Cowboy Jack rounds the CD off with another novelty rendition titled “I Ain`t Gonna Put No Diapers On My Horse”. The songs range from slow lost love ballads to the novelty songs with the unusual titles above, songs of social comment and even environmental issues. No details about the musicians or production are given and I feel that Everett lost a chance here to detail a piece of country history regarding them, as the cd appears to be a re-issue of historical recordings from the 50`s onwards. I found it very enjoyable listening with some lovely well written songs and well performed by many unknown (to me) singers. It is available direct from Corbin Records 5801 Halls Hill Pike Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130 or you could e-mail Everett at [email protected]"

Back in January 1999 on the very first Country Hot Disc there was a singer called “The Renegade” singing “One More Bar“. It was his first release in the UK and introduced him to the larger European audiences when the single entered the Euro Charts, as have all his singles since. (He has now dropped “The Renegade” title).That song and his next 2 singles “If It Feels Good” and “Whiskey To Wine” have now been re-recorded for this 12 track CD which runs 45 minutes approx. Luke sings 10 of his own songs, and co- writes 5 of them with Graham Walker, who also plays rhythm & lead guitars and banjo. The other 2 songs are covers of Smokey Mountain Rain and Barroom Star both given his distinctive treatment. His vocal resemblance to the Late Waylon Jennings is quite remarkable and had Waylon been a bigger star outside Country here in the UK I could see Luke winning “Stars In Their Eyes” easily. The voice has a lovely resonance and distinctive quality, his diction is clear and defined and soon his name will be associated with this voice exclusively. As a songwriter his songs have real meaning, and cover many of life situations, be it love, lost love, romance or Honky Tonk music and all its associates. The album was produced by steel guitarist Dave Hayward who once again does on outstanding job. The other musicians include Keith Shilcock on bass, Wilbur Cartwright drums and percussion, Bob Winquist on fiddle, Jon Millar on piano-keyboards and J.C. Grimshaw on mouth harp & mandolin. The musicianship is outstanding as is the whole CD and it is certainly one of the best releases I’ve listened to this year. His latest single on the Hot Disc and EMS Chart , “I Ain`t got no hat ” is the title track. www.solentrecords.co.uk/luke
OTHER TRACKS:-Realize her dreams-As good for me as you-Waiting for dawn-Wild card-Banjo picker-Everybody’s differen

Yorkshire’s own Alan is without doubt one of the England`s best known country-singer-songwriters and on this 16 track CD he gets his friends together to sing his songs. Its an admirable idea but the recordings vary in quality, because they were recorded at different times and in different studios. Had the same musicians, studio and production been used throughout, this would have been an outstanding album but I doubt if the budget would stretch that far. Apart from that criticism, the album stands and falls on the songwriting and in that department there is nothing but praise. Lovely songs with some lovely sentiments all written with a sincerity that shine through. Naturally Alan get the lions share of the singing with seven songs, 4 of his own plus the song “Will you marry me” co-written with Tony Peck, “Everything is not alright” written by Ed Pearson and “The Joke’s on me” written by Ivor James). Jeff Cliffson, Les Close, Darren Busby, West Virginia and Lazy Daisy all sing one song each while Ed & Ivor sing two each. The album runs for over 54 minutes and is a great showcase for English country talent, in composition and performance. It is available direct by telephone 01274 560 854, or you can e-mail [email protected]
OTHER TRACKS:-Why does it feel so right?-When you fall-How can I tell you?-In my dreams-No satisfaction guaranteed-Ibiza-Close your eyes-Dance senorita dance-A single red rose-I’m devoted to you-The joke’s on me-Getting over you-A Spanish Lullaby

This greatest hits package gives you 15 songs and one video track, a reprise of the duet with Tim McGraw “Bring on the rain” being one of 3 new sings added to the previously released material. Jo Dee has now established herself among the Nashville elite as an outstanding vocal entertainer and multi award winner and this collection has been overdue for a while. The album opens with one of the new songs “Was that my life” followed by one of her best hits “I’m Alright” followed by the oldest track from 1996 “Heads Carolina Tails California”. “Bye Bye” is next with “Stand Beside Me” both from 1998 . The 6th track is the first slow ballad on the compilation “Bring on the Rain” with Tim McGraw guesting. Power guitar and heavy slip-snare intros “Lesson in Leaving”. Band 8 is another of the new songs “That’s The way” a slow power ballad delivered with great conviction, like all the songs here. “Downtime” is catchy mid-tempo while “Because You Love Me” opens with tender words and piano and builds to a full country orchestral ballad one of the better songs on the CD. “You’re not in Kansas Anymore” is typical modern country with lots of guitars including steel and the 2nd song with Tim Nichols name attached. Band 13 is the 3rd new song “Wishing Well” another mid-tempo catchy modern country song and “You Belong In The Sun” continues that mood. The closing song (apart from the video) is “I Wish” another power ballad with steel guitar intro and fiddle breaks No doubt this will be a big seller and deservedly so, wonderful production on all the songs, mainly from Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw. Makes you want to go out and buy all the albums these tracks are taken from.

Back in the March issue I reviewed Thomas’s last release but now we are right up to date with this latest, a 13 track CD that runs 42 minutes. Again it’s a mixture of country and Irish , with a variety of tempos and instrumentation. The CD was recorded in my old hometown Athlone, with the exception of “Leona”, which was recorded in Derry as a single release and is added here as a bonus track. It opens with Lefty’s “If You’ve Got The Money” then a great version of Isla Grant’s “Over the Years”. The evergreen “ Isle of Innisfree” gets an airing and in complete contrast Knofler`s “Poor Boy Blues” turns up as a duet with Danny Sheerin. Brendan Graham penned “The Heart that Beats in Ireland” an Irish waltz. Thomas’s manager, Henry McMahon is no mean songwriter either, with 2 of his songs here “Kelly Ann” & Way Back Then” a tribute to the showband days with that “brass sound” added. The lovely Hugh Prestwood ballad “April Fool” is treated with great feeling by the musicians and the singer. “Golden Wedding Ring” track 9 and “What She don’t know won’t hurt her” Track 11 are two lovely stone-country ballads with Rick Nielsen’s up tempo “I want you to want me” splitting the mood. The CD is finished with another Irish waltz “Take Me Home Johnny”. In the main Thomas uses the same musicians and producer in Kevin Sherrin as on his last album and they all must be delighted with the result. Its another quality CD that can stand alongside the best that the Irish country & Irish scene has to offer at present. Contact by phone 028686 28303 or e-mail [email protected]

This 13 track CD (46 mins) was released in 2001 to launch the recording career of Co Donegal born Bernadette who, after some years in England, is now a Nashville resident and carving her career there. The Cd was a mix of covers and standards well recorded and well performed with a country sound & Irish lilt that is appealing .She sings at her best on Bobby Cryner`s “Daddy Laid The Blues On Me” and the Schlitz/Overstreet hit “I’d Choose You Again”. The CD has an abundance of ballads all well sung like “I’ll be Faithful to You” “Silence is King” and “Love Me Tender Again” Her music was released to the European market gaining her the Most Played Indie Artist on occasions. However a break with Rosebud Records saw her start her own record label Rachael Records in Nashville and her gift of self promotion has found her in the headlines . Her recording career seems to have slowed with the release of only 2 singles since. Her Christmas single “Oh Holy Night” (proceeds to charity) reached No 18 on the E.M.S. Chart and her best known release to date is the “Green Fields Of France“, which made No. 13 and stayed on the chart for many weeks. She is currently working on a new CD due for release later this year but seek out her singles, they are available through her web site at www.bernadettesings.net and hear a wee bit of Ireland in Nashville. You won’t be disappointed and the CD album is well worth a listen, its also her debut and is still available from www.rosebudrecords.com
OTHER TRACKS:-Until forever’s gone-We can’t love well enough alone-Verification of termination-You go girl-All by me lonesome-Sally gardens-Where do I stand before I fall-Down that road. WAYNE AUSTIN (Featuring the Westerners)

Going back to the March reviews I told you about Wayne Austin and his sidekicks Hal and Patricia Follett who play lead guitar & bass guitar and are called the Westerners. I mentioned that the release then was their 2nd, and Wayne has forwarded his first which is worthy of a mention for the benefit of the readers who like their country with a western flavour. Released in 2000 it’s a lovely combination of songs written by Wayne and songs made famous by the Singing Cowboys, “A Tribute to Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and The Sons of The Pioneers”. Wayne writes 3 songs here “Sierra Timber Wind” “Lonesome Range” and “By The Old San Joaquin” . (That song was the title track to his 2nd CD reviewed March 2003).The remainder are all well known country & western cowboy standards made famous by the singing cowboys and beloved by everyone who saw and sang along with them years ago. Wayne & the Westerners supply the backing apart from the addition of Bill Ferrero on guitars, Rod Linn on stand-up bass and Tim O’Connor on fiddle who deserves special mention for outstanding musicianship. Its gentle laid-back and ever so pleasing, a real pleasure to listen to and certainly one for the western fans. It is available via e-mail to [email protected].who can supply full details on availability.
OTHER TRACKS :-Texas plains - I ride an old paint - Jesse James - Medley; On Top of Ole Smokey / Down in the valley / My horses Ain`t hungry - Carry me back to the Lone Prairie - Mexicali Rose - Sweet Evelina -Strawberry Roan-Out where the west wind blows.

I always look forward to and welcome your comments about the reviews and releases and you can contact me by e-mail at:
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© 2004 Country Music & Dance Scotland