KEITH URBAN, GOLDEN ROAD, CAPITOL RECORDS.7243-32936-2-8keith Urban
"You'll think of me" topped the Billboard singles chart in May and Keith has just received a nomination from the Academy of Country Music. Last year he won the Horizon Award from the CMA and the New Male Vocalist Award from the Academy, plus a nomination for "Rollercoaster" an from his first CD. Not bad for an Aussie now based in Nashville who is currently on the "Golden Road" to greater successes with this 12 track CD. Keith writes or co-writes 8 of the songs, all polished with a craft garnered on the many miles he has travelled over the years. His co-writers include Rodney Crowell, John Shanks, Monty Powell and Paul Jefferson while Roger Greenaway, Darrell Brown, Tom Shapiro and Radney Foster are more of the other songwriters that supply the goods. The songs are all top notch, and the vocal is crisp with a built in excitement. The musicians vary on the different tracks with Keith playing most of the guitars and the list of musicians include Dan Dugmore, Steve Nathan, Chris McHugh, John Hobbs, Aubrey Haynie, Tom Bukovac, Glenn Worf, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Matt Chamberlain, Tim Akers and Jason Mowery. Keith produced 6 tracks and co-produced the other 6 with Dan Huff. It's a great modern country album geared to the TODAY sound required by current radio and chart needs. The hits continue and deservedly so, as Keith is giving the modern country fan and country radio exactly what it wants. (55 minutes +).

SONGS:-Somebody like you-Who wouldn't wanna be me-Whenever I run-What about me-You'll think of me-Jeans on-You look good in my shirt-You're not alone tonight-You won-Song for Dad-Raining on Sunday-You're not my God

RIDERS IN THE SKY SILVER JUBILEE, ACOUSTIC DISC.ACD55
Riders in the Sky, America's favourite Western Vocal Group started back in 1978 and are still together, with 3 of the original members. They have notched up many successes, like 32 albums, (including 2 Grammy Award winners), 720 Grand Ole Opry appearances since joining in 1982, soundtrack to the Disney Movie "Toy Story 2", and 3 million miles across the 50 United States and 9 other countries ). As part of their Silver Jubilee they released this double CD with 33 tracks, (nearly 2 hours). They have re-recorded their most requested and best known songs plus bonus "Live" tracks. They have added Richard O'Brien on guitar, (plus mandolin, keyboards and percussion on one song each) and the rest is the current Riders in the Sky at their very best. Disc one opens with Texas Plains, and from then on its all about "The Cowboy Way" in song and poem. As one of their admirers for many years I may be biased but this is an outstanding collection of cowboy and western songs that would do any collection proud. Perfect harmonies surrounded by great musicianship wrapped up in nostalgia and meaningful production makes this CD one to add to YOUR collection. Ranger Doug , Too Slim, Woody Paul, and Joey the Cowpolka King (the most recent addition & producer) all sing and between them play guitars, bass, fiddle, accordion keyboards and percussion. The 24 page booklet gives details about all the songs, pictures over the years, biog and even a letter from the US President .

SONGS-(Disc1) Texas Plains,-Cool water-Back in the saddle again-Compadres in the Old Sierra Madres-Sidekick Heaven-Blue Bonnet Lady-(Ghost) Riders in the Sky-The Line Rider-We're burning moonlight-Phantom of the Chuckwagon - La Malaguena - Here comes the Santa Fe-The Arms of my love-Salting of the Slug-Way out there-Tumbling Tumbleweeds. (Disc 2) Ride cowboy ride-Ringo- Biscuit blues-Lonely Yukon stars-That's how the yodel was born-Blue Montana Skies-Woody's roundup-Reincarnation / Sundown in Santa Fe-My Oklahoma, (Bonus Tracks) Wah-Hoo - Early Autumn-Rawhide-You're wearing out your welcome Matt-Questions-There's a blue sky way out yonder-Riders Radio Theatre Medley/So Long Saddle Pals-The Cowboy Way.

SAMMY SADLER - HARD ON A HEART - TRI RECORDS INC.TR 57161
Back in the spring of 1989 Sammy Sadler and Kevin Hughes were shot while walking in Music Row Nashville. Kevin was killed and Sammy wounded seriously. At that point his career disappeared. Up to then he was showing great promise as a performer and recording artiste with chart appearances on Billboard and around the world. He moved back to Texas to recover from his serious injuries, and eventually started to work in his fathers business until1991. He formed a band and restarted his touring, leading eventually to this CD recorded in Nashville and produced by Chet Hinesley. The title track hit No 1 on the Country Hot Disc chart on 18th March this year, rekindling his European career. The 10 track CD is divided into 5 distinctive ballads and 5 other different tempo songs suitable for the dancers. The songs are all written by top-notch songwriters and they are performed by classy musicians giving the Cd a definite steel guitar and fiddle country sound. But it is highlighted by the voice which is as clear as running water and soars like an eagle in flight. The overall sadness in the lost love songs are balanced by the diverse up-tempo feel given to the other songs, while the late night blues effect of adding the sax to "Nobody Knows" leads me to think that there's another direction for Sammy down that road. His strong voice is laid back at times but never overshadowed by the music. This CD tells the world that Sammy Sadler is back and he's going to make his mark once again. Check out www.sammysadler.com (P.S. In Sept 2003 Richard D'Antonio was convicted of murder).

SONGS:-I Know a Place-Any Four Walls -Freedom Feels Like Loneliness Today-That Ole Gravel Road -Nobody Knows-Hard on a Heart-Wild Thing in Me -No Place to Land-Sweet Distraction-To Watch Love Die

RICKY SKAGGS - THE ESSENTIAL RICKY SKAGGS - EPIC / LEGACY .EK89068
The career of Ricky Skaggs is well documented and in 1981 he took country "back to basics" with his debut album for Epic records "Waiting for the Sun to Shine" He followed with 12 Number 1 country hits ,worldwide fame, Grand Ole Opry membership, Grammy and CMA awards and a continuing career today with his award winning band Kentucky Thunder. This 14 track CD in the Legacy "Essential Collection" series highlights the recordings from 1981, through to 1991.Of course all the hits are not here, but there's a great cross -section of them (see list below).You could say they should have included "xxx" but then they would have left out something else and I think that Greg Geller who compiled the collection does a great job here. (I love the inclusion of the George Jones duet from George's duets album Friends in High Places).Ricky's unique contribution to country music is often overlooked but this album is certainly a great tribute to his Epic career Check out www.legacyrecordings.com for full details of the other Cds in this series.

SONGS:-Don't get above your raisin'-You may see me walking-Crying my heart out over you-I don't care-Heartbroke-I wouldn't change you if I could-You've got a lover-Don't cheat in your hometown-Honey (open that door)-I wonder if I care as much-I'm tired-(Angel on my mind) that's why I'm walkin'-You can't do wrong and get by (duet with George Jones)-Lovin' only me.

KEITH PEARSON & COUP DE GRASS - CRAZY MEN, COWBOYS AND KIDS, -CDG RECORDS.CDGCD02
Its not easy to classify this 14 track CD by Cambridge based Keith and his band as its folksy, bluegrass, old-timey and country. Keith sings lead and plays guitar and banjo, Phil Milner sings and plays bass, James Darby harmonica and Tim Jellis sings and plays mandolin dobro and guitar. On this recording they add Robin Milner on drums on some tracks and a little percussion on others from Dave Day. Keith also writes 4 songs Baby You've fallen in Love again, Talking to the Lord (acappella) , Misery ( tongue in cheek humour) Crazy men, cowboys and kids (plaintive title track) and the instrumental Vladivostok Two Step, while James Darby writes the instrumental Big Boy's Breakdown for the harmonica. The Top Hat Ramble features the bass guitar of Phil Milner on another instrumental. The remainder of the songs are traditional pieces like Orange Blossom Special, Gone Home, Shall the Circle be Unbroken, Pictures from life's other side and Please release me. Hal Rakes Memory of your smile, and the unknown On My Mind make up the 14 tracks (59 minutes).Now you may be thinking that the traditional pieces are all overdone but on this CD they all fit together nicely are they ARE well performed. The instrumentation is never overdone, nobody's trying to compete with the other players and the delivery by Keith on the songs is unusual. His vocal drawl sends up the funny songs and adds a little pathos on the sad ones and is certainly refreshing.
Having worked with them recently in a concert club setting in Keynsham near Bristol they were a delight to watch performing both musically, vocally and humorously. I can recommend the CD ( and the performing act as well).Telephone contact Number, 02083 614 738 or you can check out www.keithpearson.co.uk

BUDDY JEWELL - COLUMBIA.CK90131
Nashville Star winner 2003 Buddy Jewell got to sign to Columbia Records and make this Cd after winning the contest. He does have a great voice and writes a good song, check out his latest single "Help Pour Out The Rain" (Lacey's Song) for example, sure to top the charts. He also co wrote "Abilene on her mind" with Jim Weaver and "One in a Row" with Thom McHugh, another 2 good songs included here. His rendition of Haggard's "Today I started Loving you again" as a duet with Miranda Lambert is worthy of that great song. Wonderful songs from every writer and a great album well within the country format, harmonica, fiddle and steel shining across the songs too. Now having a list of session players you just can't afford in Nashville play for you (Eddie Bayers, Glenn Worf, Biff Watson, Brent Mason, Paul Franklin, Matt Robbins, and Stuart Duncan) and have Clint Black produce the CD would make any singer sound good, but in Buddy's case he delivers the goods vocally and the album is an outstanding debut. Clint as a producer, gives Buddy his head vocally and the voice floats over the great musicianship from the Top Team among session players and they deserve their accolades on this CD alone. (Clint also adds harmonica and bass harmonica and even a little vocal to some tracks and writes "I can get by" too). Great future promised for Buddy on the strength of this CD. Check out www.buddyjewell.com for more details .

OTHER SONGS:-I wanna thank everyone-Sweet southern comfort - O'Reilly Luck - Why we said goodbye - One step at a time - You know how women are.

JOHNNY CHESTER - THE NASHVILLE SESSIONS -WARNER BROS (Aust) 2564606752.
Leading Australian country singer songwriter Johnny Chester has made various visit to Nashville over the years since 1981 and Country producer Brien Fisher has produced all his recordings there. (Brien produced the Kendall's Heaven's Just A Sin Away and was in charge of the independent Ovation Records).The musicians are not named here due to the various recording sessions over the years. This 20-track compilation is a collection of some of Johnny's more popular country hits, 13 self-written songs, plus 2 co-writes make up the bulk of the songs. There's the catchy "Brand New" opening the CD, the road song "Back on the Road again", the tongue in cheek "Love has a whole lot to answer for", the gospel song "Lord I'd Forgotten" (which I've recorded myself), "Another Texas Morning" "Albuquerque Moon" "I Love you so Rebecca" "Life After Louise" and "She's my kind of woman" are all love songs. Johnny also covers American hits like "Gwen Congratulations" "Tomorrow's memories Tonight" and "Some Such Foolishness" while his own "The World's Greatest Mum" needs no explanation and "Runaway" is a poignant song about a young girl who becomes a runaway. Band 8 is a real gem with the song "Three Rivers Hotel" where Johnny is joined by Freddy Fender, Bobby Bare and Joe Sun. The top class musicians give their all under tight production from Brien and Johnny's distinctive and often whispering voice makes for a real treasure of a collection with some memorable songs. Check his web site at www.johnnychester.com.au

OTHER TRACKS:- (Just like) Honey on a biscuit-She's gone to someone else's arms-You've still got a hold of my dreams-Hung up on love-(have we got) Love or the next best thing.

EDDIE DEAN.DUSTY OLD SADDLE - BRITISH ARCHIVE OF COUNTRY MUSIC. - BACM CD D 063
Eddie Dean and his rich baritone voice were as much a part of the western movie and Singing Cowboys scene as Roy Rogers Tex Ritter & Gene Autry, although he didn't get the recognition or stardom that they got. He came from Texas and moved to Chicago in the 30's to join his brother Jimmy but moved to Hollywood, met Gene Autry and joined the movies as a bit part player. He got his big screen break in 1944 alongside Ken Maynard and had to wait until 1948 for his big hit with his own song "One had my Name". The song also topped the charts for Jimmy Wakely the same year although Eddie's version made No. His next chart hit was 1955 with "I dreamed of a Hillbilly heaven" in the top ten. Back in the 40's he also recorded for Standard Radio Transcriptions in Los Angeles and the best of those recordings are on this CD.27 songs, (70 minutes).The musical backing is basically acoustic guitars (rhythm and lead) a little electric guitar, bass, fiddle and accordion, and Eddie sings lead on all the songs with unknown harmony vocal group behind at times. It captures the era nicely and is full of nostalgia. A gem for the collector as most if not all of these recordings are now available to buy for the first time. You can check out their web pages at www.bacm.users.btopenworld.com or you can order direct by telephone at 01304205000.

SONGS:-A cowboy song for sale-My old herding song-Dusty old saddle-When I move to that new range-Road to Santa Fe-Dusty & Dry-Prairie Moonbeams-Resting beside the trail-Moonlight on the painted desert-We're brandin' today-Palomino pal of mine-I only want a buddy not a sweetheart-I'll be back in a year little Darling-Green pastures-So Long Old Pal-Twilight o'er my cabin-Blue Eyed Bonnie-Cowboy's Heaven-Moonlit hours-Grieving Wind-I'll take you home again Kathleen-Whispering Sands-Goodnight Little Cowboy-Old Chuck Wagon-I wonder where you are tonight-Molly McGee-An old enchanted mesa.

LUCY KAPLANSKY - THE RED THREAD - RED HOUSE RECORDS RHRCD166
This is Lucy's 5th Cd for Red House and to class this one as just a country album would be an injustice to the singer. While it does have the sound of country on some tracks there's folk, blues , pop and soft rock all included . The Red Thread's outstanding production and classy backing are immediately evident with harmony vocals by Jonatha Brooke, Richard Shindell, Eliza Gilkyson and John Gorka Ben Wittman is in charge of production, percussion and drums and runs a tight ship. The other musicians include guitarists Duke Levine and Jon Herington, bass player Zev Katz. The gifted musicians all compliment Lucy's velvet-lined low-register vocals perfectly . She co-writes 6 of the song with husband Richard Litvin and usually embraces great songs by other songwriters and her choice here is impeccable,

Bill Morrissey (Love song/ New York), James McMurtry (Off and Running), Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale (Hole in my Head), and the late Dave Carter (Cowboy Singer). Her own songs stand along side the others as well written reminders of daily life, "Line in the sand" is a basic anti-war song while "This is Home" and "The Red Thread" are about her and husband Richard adopting a child, while "Land of the Living" a tribute to September 11th in her home city New York. it's a most enjoyable album and a very very pleasant listen. Their web site is at www.redhouserecords.com and you can register there for their e-mail newsletter
OTHER TRACKS:-I had something-Brooklyn Train.

DANNY BARNES - DIRT ON THE ANGEL -TERMINUS RECORDS 0303-2.
Danny Barnes is a new name to me as is Terminus Records out of Atlanta Georgia. He left his native Texas for the Seattle area in 1997, and found his musical roots there when he met up and began regular collaborations with jazz-folk guitarist Bill Frisell. He joined keyboard player Chuck Leavell , violinist Darol Anger, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, drummer Carlton Jackson, vocalist Amy Denio, bass player Garey Shelton, Mark Graham on harmonica, Steve Moore trombone and Matt Weiner acoustic bass. who all appear on this recording, made at Shelton's studio in Seattle and in Macon, Georgia. This CD is a journey through Americana music. The journey runs from an instrumental in "Kitchen Floor Waltz" to a rhythmic bluegrass piece called "Bluegrass Suicide" There's a tribute to baseball outfielder "Trinidad Hubbard" and a great version of "Keep my skillet good & greasy" (yes the Uncle Dave Macon classic getting a new lease of life) and the Cd closes with the highly unusual "Loser". Its slightly left of centre in many respects, I get the distinct impression that Danny has set out to create something really different. The instrumentals are exciting and the words, though poetic, ramble at times, but stay within the bounds of the music. He writes 11 of the tracks and adds the aforementioned Skillet song, "Ooh La La" (Ronnie Lane) "Loser" and the instrumental "Barnes Away" written by fiddle player Darol Anger. Check out his site at www.dannybarnes.com for more information about the unusual Mr Barnes and his even more unusual music, unusual but enjoyable that is and certainly to my mind indefinable at times.

OTHER TRACKS:-Life in the country-Get it while you can-Water Wagon-I like my chicken Hot-Face to face-Popcorn & wine-Peanut butter is a man's best friend.

ARLY KARLSEN -COUNTRY HOME - SHOWTIME RECORDS SR 0272004
Now here is a good singer singing real country songs with Nashville backing. Arly came to prominence just last year with his chart-topping Euro hit "Here's to you (The Man In Black)" a tribute to Johnny Cash written by Arly, which entered the Euro Charts at 13 before Christmas and hit Number 1 in January as the first Country Hot Disc Number 1. He's currently on his 3rd Number 1 with a duet with Red Lane "I wish it was that Easy" and in between he scored No 1 with a duet with Pat Roden on the Porter & Dolly classic "Please don't stop loving me". The 3 songs are all on this CD just released and available here in Britain from Bellarosa Ltd (see below). Steel guitar & fiddles, guitars and mandolin, bass and drums piano, keyboards & dobro are all there, with a little backup singing and great country songs. There's standards like "500 mile from home" "Sea of Heartbreak" and "Four Strong Winds, songs from Red Lane like "Uncle Herman's", "Someone in someone else's arms, and the duet "I wish it was that easy". There's the catchy "Montego Bay" and "She's a Tango". Included also is a duet with Billy Don Burns "It ain't Easy" which Billy also wrote the Byron Hill son "Living in the past tense" and the novelty song "I'll be your sugar daddy". Its all produced by Tom Holland and engineered by Mark Moseley. Country through and through and worth a listen. Available direct from Norway via the web at www.countrymusic.no or you can telephone Ray at 01384 411178.

ARNE BENONI -WITH JIM REEVES BLUE BOYS -ROUND ROBIN RECORDS.
Arne is a Norwegian who travelled to Nashville to record this 12 track tribute to Jim reeves CD. Not enough just to sing the 12 songs associated with Jim he gets Leo Jackson to co-produce the album with Jim Pierce and Leo also arranged the music. Bunky Keels plays piano, Jim Pierce Keyboards and piano, Mike Douchette plays steel, Mike Leach and Ralph Childs play bass, Gene Chrisman drums Buddy Spicer & Kurt Storey fiddles and Jennifer O'Brian, Margie Cates and Ronnie Light sings backup. The voice sound just like Jim, not exactly like Jim, but very close, so close that at time you can't tell the difference, and as the arrangements are also similar to Jim's with the addition of steel guitar on some tracks it's a great throwback to an era long gone. All the very popular Reeves hits are included and while Jim is gone his memory is very much alive in this recording. The production is excellent as is the musicianship and as there is a market across Europe and in the UK for this material I'm sure it will sell.

Available direct from Norway via the web at www.countrymusic.no or you can telephone Ray at 01384 411178.

SONGS;-Welcome to my world-I'm gonna change everything-He'll have to go-Distant Drums-Anna Marie-I love you because-Four Walls- Billy Bayou-Am I losing You-I guess I'm crazy-Yonder comes a sucker-Adios Amigo.

PATTY LOVELESS - ON YOUR WAY HOME -EPIC RECORDS.EK86620
Following the success of her "Long Stretch of Lonesome" and "Mountain Soul" albums and the Christmas album "Bluegrass, White Snow--a Mountain Christmas" Patty stays with the acoustic feel almost bluegrass sound for her latest 11 track 43 minute CD PLUS release. The 11 songs open with acoustic guitar and fiddle at a mid tempo pace setting the mood for what is to follow. This great collection features songs by Paul Kennerley & Marty Stuart, Al Anderson & Gary Nicholson, Matraca Berg, Tim Mensy, Rodney Crowell, Buddy & Julie Miller with Jim Lauderdale, Michael Henderson, Shawn Camp, Al Anderson & Gary Nicholson. The haunting fiddle of Deanie Richardson sets the tone for the emotional performance on "On Your Way Home" a tale of a cheating husband. The Cd shines with a likeable blend of acoustic instruments dobro, mandolin, fiddle and banjo and various guitars. Her voice shines on "Born again Fool" written by Roger Brown again with haunting fiddle from Stuart Duncan this time closing the song. Al Perkins guests on steel, while Harry Stinson plays drums, husband Emory Gordy Jr plays bass, Biff Watson and Steve Gibson share the acoustic guitar work, Jed Hughes gets the steel parts (except when Al plays) and Kenny Vaughn and Tom Britt play lead electric guitars. Emory also produces Jerry Douglas guests on dobro along with vocal parts from Carl Jackson and Tammy Rogers on the plaintiff "The Grandpa That I Know" written by Mensy and Camp. Rodney Crowell's "Lovin all night" was the first single from the CD and that's where the {PLUS comes in. Did I mention that this is a 2 CD set, no well the 2nd CD is actually a DVD featuring the video for the single PLUS 3 cuts from the TV programme Austin City Limits (Here I am again,Pretty Little Miss and You'll never leave Harlan Alive) ,a photo gallery and discography. Above all this is Patty's voice, one of the greatest country singers of all time to my mind who deserves the award every time. This is surely one of her best ever albums, and I hope she continues with more of the same for many more years. Full credit also to Emory for the production and direction I know he takes Patty.
You can check out more about Patty's web site at www.pattylovelessweb.com or the alternate site at www.pattyloveless.com

OTHER SONGS:-Dragging my heart around-Nothing like the lonely-I wanna believe-I don't want to be that strong-Looking for a heartache like you-Higher that the well-Last in a long lonesome line.

REDD STEWART - I REMEMBER - AMBRIDGE MUSIC INC.
Ambridge Music in Norfolk Virginia is now run by Bill and Sharon Stewart, son and Daughter to the late Redd. They are currently aiming to get Redd's songs out to the world, lest their singer-songwriter father's memory is forgotten. With this in mind they have set up a web site at www.reddstewart.com and have released this CD with 11 songs. Redd wrote or co-wrote some of country's most memorable hits over his career which ended August last year aged 80. When you think you probably know some of his songs but maybe not the man, the singer, the songwriter or the recording artiste. He co-wrote "Tennessee Waltz", "Slow Poke", "You Belong To Me" and "Bonaparte's Retreat" with Pee Wee King, and wrote "The Soldier's Last Letter" for Ernest Tubb in his early career. This cd includes "Tennessee Waltz" and "Bonaparte's Retreat" as well as other Stewart compositions like "I remember", "Sunshine over the Hill", "Dreaming Again", and "Talk to the Angels". He also covers Don Gibson's "Having Second Thoughts", Rod Morris's "Bimbo", the Fred Rose song "My Home is the dust of the Road", Eddie Raven's "Banjo" and the Hank Williams classic Cold Cold Heart. Sadly there are no details about the recording dates or the musicians (all part of the history) but the Cd is a collector's gem with more releases to follow. You can get full details from their web site above.

© 2004 Country Music & Dance Scotland