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
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 very enjoyable.
||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
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.
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
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.
||TIM HOLCOMB...COWBOY ON THE RUN...UNION
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.
NOVAS...BLUE SKIES OVER GEORGIA...UNIVERSAL SOUNDRECORDS
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
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.
next time, Gerry Ford