SAWYER BROWN - TRUE BELIEVER..CURB RECORDS
20 years at the top of the ladder is quite an achievement for any artiste, even more so for a band in country music. Sawyer Brown have outlasted more than most in that time and still ride high. 20 of their songs have made the top ten, many of them No.1 hits and their album sales are in the millions. Their latest releases is their 19th album and to celebrate their ongoing success they turn their hand to a 10 track collection of "country songs" with a gospel - spiritual "down home doing right" theme. The production, arrangements and overall sound is undoubtedly Sawyer Brown only the content of the songs has been changed. Mark Miller writes 6 songs, Dave Loggins on 2, Gregg Hubbard on 2, Skip Ewing writes one and the rest are from other top songwriters. The songs date from 1985 to 2003 and all bar 2 are co-produced by Mark Miller with different producers like Randy Scruggs, Mac McAnnaly, Brian Tankersley etc. The band are joined by a children's choir on "I Got A Plan" and by Donna McElroy on the duet " Still Water" both songs standout tracks along with "Travellin` Shoes" "Circles" and "Lord Would You Do That For Me" and "The Sun Don't Shine On The Same Folks All The Time". A real gem of a country album with an inspirational feel, (it would be wrong to call this one a collection of Gospel song) and one to add to any collection. Excellent and deserving great success.
OTHER TRACKS:- The Walk-It wasn't his child-800 pound Jesus -Building a True believer.

RAMSEY KEARNEY - IF I`M BLUE.SAFARI RECORDS
Its been some time now since I've heard a Ramsey Kearney CD. I used to play him quite a lot in my broadcasting days and he was requested consistently by the listeners. From the "Old Country School" he's built his reputation on good country songs, mainly self-penned, with quality recordings from his Nashville hometown. This 24 tracks CD is all self penned songs ( 2 with co-writers) again recorded in Nashville with lovely backing, never overproduced. I'd describe the sound as "easy on the ear" relying on piano and steel guitar leads. There are no musician or production credits on the sleeve notes just the songs titles, publishing details and this, which I quote from ".the songs.have been written over a period of time.are windows to my life and speak to what I have lived." The songs are mainly broken-hearted ballads in the laid back vein but they cover many different styles of country tempos and styles. Check out his web site where you can buy this and his other CDs, its www.ramseykearney.com or you can e-mail:- [email protected]

SONG TITLES: If I'm Blue-Once upon a song-A place to come in out of the rain-The Keeper (graveyard of love)-How do you turn a memory off-From hello to goodbye-A Drift between you & me-Stay-Come on feet-I'm confessing my tears-I can't stop the rain-It's hard to love someone that doesn't love you-I need to be needed-Heart on your sleeve-When the rain stops raining-I'm so used to loving you-Back on track-Picture on the wall-That's the truth-You loved me right out of your mind-Sifting through the ashes-One more bridge to cross-Nothing left to talk about-I'm glad it was with you.

BRITT HAMMOND - COMSTOCK RECORDS.
El Paso based singer Britt makes his Cd debut through Comstock Records with the release of this 10 song CD. Its country all the way, steel guitars fiddles, piano, and all the good things you'd expect from a Texas based country singer releasing an album on Comstock. There's a great mix of song styles here, the up tempo opener "I Gotta Get To Her (before my reputation) sets the pace while "I Showed me" is a lovely strong ballad where Britt shows his vocal talent to perfection. The Texas 2 step shuffle with fiddles and walking bass "When You Dance With Me" is a highlight for me as is the closing song "Something Neon Going On". Sadly the great musicianship on this CD is under-declared as the musicians are not mentioned, and they certainly shine on this CD. Quality songs indeed well sung and this all promises a good future for Britt. Check it out on www.britthammond.com.

OTHER SONGS: Tip of the Iceberg-Faith-I can fix it-(Can't take) A Full moon-On an empty heart-I will be there-Falling out of love-

NICE & EASY VOLUME 1 (Various Artistes) - ROSETTE RECORDS
Here's a 20 track collection of country and Irish songs that is really a fine sampler album for the recently formed Rosette Records. Most of the songs have already been released on CD. All the artistes have 2 songs each, like Daniel O'Donnell's 2 songs were out as singles, and Mary Duff's 2 are from her Heartbreaker CD. Dominick Kerwin has a song each from the Collection and Under Your Spell albums, while Michael English's 2 comes from his Both Sides Now CD. Loretto O'Sullivan`s 2 songs are not yet available except on this CD while Frank McCaffrey`s contribution is from his Something Old Something New release. Charlie Landsborough's songs are from his Classic Doubles releases, and the 2 that John Hogan sings are from "The very Best Of". Al Grant gets his first time outing with 2 songs from his CD There's That Smile Again release and wife Isla has 2 songs culled from her Classic Doubles release included. (Mary Duff & Al also sing her songs giving Isla 4 compositions on the album).Most of the songs are standards and country and its certainly Nice & Easy on the ear. Great value too at a budget price, and like I said at the start a great sampler.

SONG TITLES; Rhythm of the rain-Wish you were here-Under your spell-Over the years-The mist on the moor - Crying game - Moonlight bay - Blue umbrella-Will you walk with me-Stepping Stone-Rockin` alone - Mother- Don't let me cry again-Blue boy -White lies & windows - Crazy- Walk through this world with me-You are the people-Connemara cradle song - Like leaves in the wind.

MARTIN BRANIGAN - IN THIS LIFE.MBMCD 03
Castleblaney born - Preston based fiddle player, guitarist and vocalist Martin Brannigan was a founder member of the highly successful country band WEST COAST. He started a solo career and in 1999, with the release of his first album "The Answer", he quickly established himself on the country & Irish circuit in the North-East and around the UK. The following year found him releasing his 2nd CD, again a mix of country-Irish-M.O.R. songs. The pattern continues with the release of his latest CD,16 songs in the same mix, very much in the easy listening bracket. The CD is co-produced by Martin with Maurice Cheetham who also plays keyboards percussion and drums, while Dave Rowlands plays steel guitar, Richard Curran violin, and Alan Watson joins Martin playing guitars. Maurice also co-writes the lovely ballad If Heaven Had A Phone. The songs include country standards It Keeps Right On A Hurting, Crying Time, Misty, Everything's A waltz, and nearly country songs like Sometimes When We Touch, Penny Arcade, End of the World, Let Me Try Again and others. All in all a fine collection of songs staying true to their original arrangements as far as is possible. His voice is pleasant but never overpowering and most suitable to the big ballads. His version of the title track In This Life could stand along-side the original. Nice production too and another CD for him to be proud of.(16 songs-52 minutes) e-mail:- [email protected]
www.martinbranigan.co.uk
OTHER SONGS:- So Lucky - Bless You - Blame it on the Bossa Nova - Limerick You're a Lady - Mountains of Mourne - When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

MARTIN BRANIGAN - THE ANSWER.MBMCD 01
Here's a rundown on the songs on his first CD which is still available direct from him at the above sites or by writing to him C/o P.O.Box 608 Longbridge, Preston,PR3 2GY.(15 songs -56 minutes)

Working Man-Fields Of Athenry-I believe in Ireland-Spancil Hill-Before the next teardrop falls-I wouldn't have missed it for the world-Answer to Everything-I should have been there-All you ever do is bring me down-Don't You ever get tired of hurting me-Good looking woman-Make me an island-Wind beneath my wings-Almost like a song,-Cotton eyed Joe/Orange blossom special.

THE BROOKLYN COWBOYS - DODGING BULLETS .LEAP RECORDINGS
Here comes the 2nd edition of the ever expanding career of the Brooklyn Cowboys. Their first album "Doin` Time On Planet Earth" created a great interest in the band, who were just starting on their musical journey and this is certainly a follow-up to be proud of. In the alt-country vein it borders on early country rock , but stays true to the sound that was created back then and somehow got lost as country moved into the 90`s.The songs are written by various band members in different combinations. All the music comes from the 6 band members. There are additional guests on some tracks viz:- Hoot Hester guests on fiddle on 2 songs and Kenny Sears plays fiddle on 1; Van Manakas plays lead acoustic guitar on Hey Juanita, lead guitar on My Hearts In Denial, I Stand Accused, and You Never Quit On me and also plays dobro on Waycross Stables. Other musicians include Michael Webb on baritone guitar, Dave Roe on bass and Jim Hoke plays clarinet. Guest vocalists include Lona Heins on the title track Dodging Bullets and on Waycross Stables, while Joy Lyn White also guests on 2 songs, The City is Different and Someone You Can Live With. Their overall sound is certainly a throwback to the glorious days of standard soft-country rock as played by the New Riders of the Purple Stage, The Flying Burritos and even Commander Cody and Gram Parsons and others. Standout tracks include Someone you can live with, Rita, Hey Juanita, and Waycross Stables. Seek it out if you like the alt-country-Americana scene and check out their site:- www.brooklyncowboys.com (14 songs -51mins ).
OTHER TRACKS:-I was wrong-Trick ponies-Trouble with a capital T-The city is different (without you in it)-The gift-What you call love.

JOHN Mc CANE - AREA CODE 0161 - ECHO PARK RECORDS.
The first thing that grabs you on this album is the voice, it's strong, polished, in your face and above the music, just where it should be. Then the song grabs you, while the music over flows and fills the room. Manchester based John and his band "Last of the Breed" continue to tour across the UK and this CD is a follow-up to his award winning single from 2002, "Wrap My Arms Around The World" (not included here).This CD, made with studio musicians in Ireland is co-produced by John with Stephen Smith who also plays steel, lead, and acoustic guitars, saxophone and even sings backup vocals. The other musicians include Peter McDonald Piano /Hammond Organ - Jim McVeigh piano / strings-Keoni Kissane fiddle - John Cosgrove drums & Michael Mc Kinstry on harmonica. There's 5 new songs, 4 written by John ( 2 with co-writers Ray Grundy & Pete McDonald) and one song by Tony Ainscough. The remaining 8 songs are covers of quality songs not done to death by others. Overall I'd say I've just heard one of the best British Country Albums this year and if this is not a finalist for Album of the Year I'll be very disappointed. Contact John on 0161 282 8937 or by e-mail at [email protected] ( 13 songs 45 minutes ).

SONG TITLES Ya Know the dance-Why-Afraid-Don't come cryin' to me-La Jolla shore-Fool hearted memory-I see it now-New shade of blue-Running round in circles-She keeps the home fires burning-How's the radio know-Familiar pain-Only a fool.

TIM GRIMM - COYOTE'S DREAM .VAULT RECORD
This is an 11 track CD in the Americana-folk-country tradition. Tim writes 8 of the songs, and adds the traditional "Buffalo Skinners", Woody Guthrie's "1913 Massacre" and "Heaven" by Jason Wilber to make up the 11 tracks. Jason also produces the CD and plays lead guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro and acoustic on various different tracks. Its very much an acoustic session with the backing running from 2 guitars & dobro on "Meeting Wendell Berry", piano & field organ on "1913 Massacre" to nearly a full bluegrass band on "Little Bitty Ball" with Loretta Vinson on vocals. There's great variety in the songs, running from love songs to out & out cowboy ballads. Ramblin'Jack Elliott guests on "Buffalo Skinners" song, and Stacey Earle on "Browning Mountain". Tim is a singing storyteller who turns in a more than creditable vocal styling that enriches the songs for the listener. A pleasure to listen to and most enjoyable. Its available direct from Tim at www.timgrimm.com

OTHER TRACKS:-Raining-Coyotes dream-Slipped away-Richie -Twister.

As ever KEEP ON KEEPING IT COUNTRY,
‘till next time, Gerry Ford

© 2004 Country Music & Dance Scotland