Music Charts Magazine CD Reviews
Released: February, 2013
Label: Blue Circle Records
Review by: W.J. Hallock
My buddy, Brian McNeal, and I, have been friends since the mid 70’s. Besides being friends, we have one other thing in common….. a love affair with that 60’s Bakersfield country music sound. Brian played all those Buck and Merle songs when he was a disc jockey for KNIX in Phoenix, which was owned by Buck Owens. My band “Cactus County,” and I were playing country music (yeah, LOTS of Buck and Merle!), for dance hall crowds in every honky-tonk and road house in the southwest, with Phoenix being home base.
That sound of Buck and Don Rich singing together, Bonnie Owens (Buck’s ex-wife) vocalizing on all of Merle Haggard’s hit records, and that famous chicken-pickin’ Telecaster guitar playing of Don, James Burton and Roy Nichols will forever be a special part of country music history that we’ll always love. So, now, when anything reminds us of that era, we’re all in and checkin’ it out!
A few months back, Brian sent me some songs to listen to by “Feller and Hill and the Bluegrass Buckaroos.” We both couldn’t believe how much Tom Feller and Chris Hill sounded like Buck and Don singing together! We were pretty excited to see just how this musical adventure was going to turn out, as the CD wasn’t finished and ready for release.
The completed project came last week, and it was all we had hoped it would be. To quote Brian, “Feller and Hill do the third best version of TOGETHER AGAIN ever recorded!”and I whole-heartedly agree. The original version by Buck Owens will always be #1.…. Emmylou Harris OWNS the #2 spot….. and, time will only tell for sure, but, in my humble opinion (AND Brian’s) Feller and Hill have made their version so personalized and passionate as to forever nail down that #3 slot. When you think of all the many artists who have recorded TOGETHER AGAIN, that’s a BIG deal! To re-do a song that defined a specific sound and musical era, and do it in such a way that it makes the song relevant to another generation of listeners, that is the epitome of successful communication skills.
Just so there’s no confusion, this CD is straight ahead bluegrass. Tom and Chris have spent years as sidemen for some of the best bluegrass bands around, and their credentials are exceptional. On this release, Tom plays acoustic and Pedal Steel guitars, mandolin and upright bass. Chris plays all the banjo tracks, and plays any style called for. Earl Scruggs would be proud of Chris’ proficiency in his style, especially with his use of Earl’s patented “Scruggs tuners.” Don Reno and Ralph Stanley’s styles are also in Chris’ arsenal. But what sets this CD apart from those of so many other bluegrass bands, is the way these two talented gentlemen sing together. The two of them have that cohesive magic that not every duo have, and they have taken all their vocal and studio/technical strengths and added layers of vocals to the entire CD to make it a total pleasure to hear.
The very first song on this musical trip kicks off with a bang. The old Delmore Brother’s standard, “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar,” leaps out of the speakers, complete with two part harmony, a Lester Flatt “G-run” guitar lick and Chris’ 5-string banjo just a cookin’! This song will make you smile, because it’s alive, traditional and as authentic as it gets. Especially notable on this tune is the lead guitar solo of Brian Blaylock. It just plain sizzles!
( Music Charts Magazine Bluegrass Album Reviews are all done by Prescription Bluegrass – “Your Bluegrass Home” )
Rural Rhythm Records announces an exciting new album release available today, THAT’S JUST THE WAY I ROLL, by Dave Adkins & Republik Steele.
“Snazzy stuff for real people that still want some music they can feel and believe in. Well done,” said Midwest Record in a new review for the album.
Dave Adkins not only impresses listeners with his powerful lead vocals, but he contributed three original songs on the album including “Heartstrings”, “Get ‘Em Up”and the impressive “Rio.”
People who watch what we refer to as reality television might remember Kacey Musgraves from the former USA Network show, Nashville Star. Kacey was a contestant during Season Five, back in 2007, and finished in seventh place. Recently, however, she caught the attention of country music fans with the release of her debut single, “Merry Go ‘Round.” It’s not just listeners who like what they are hearing from Kacey, it is the program directors and station managers at the top country music radio stations nation-wide. Her single is sitting in the No. 11 spot on country music’s Top 40 Chart, and Kacey is ready to introduce the world to more of her music music, with the release of her first album.
Available in now, the new album is titled “Same Trailer, Different Park”, which incidentally is a line from her current single, Merry Go ‘Round. While today is the official release date for the CD, I had the pleasure of listening to this album a few weeks ago. And I don’t mind telling you, I listened more than once.
Kacey co-wrote all of the songs on the new album, which was produced by Shane McAnally. The 12 songs on the debut album are: Silver Lining, My House, Merry Go ‘Round, Dandelion, Blowin’ Smoke, I Miss You, Step Off, Back on the Map, Keep it to Yourself, Stupid, Follow Your Arrow, and It Is What It Is. While a few of the songs remind me of something I just heard on the album, every one of them is unique in its own way. From the story it tells to the melody and instrumentation, there is something unmistakeably ”Kacey’ in everything “Same Trailer, Different Park” has to offer.
The songs on this new album are mostly what I could call ‘mid-tempo’. They aren’t super fast, and they aren’t ballads either. “Stupid” is one of the fastest. And oddly enough, it’s my least favorite of the 12 tracks. That said, I really like “Follow Your Arrow,” and it’s also a little faster, so my problem isn’t with fast vs. slow here. I am certain that every country music fan who hears this album is going to enjoy what Kacey has done with it. When I got done listening to the album for the first time, it left me wanting to see Kacey Musgraves in concert. So, if that was one of the goals of the CD – goal accomplished!
This 24-year-old Texas native is a real story-teller. Whether it is the waitresses in the diner talking about bigger dreams in “Blowin’ Smoke,” or descriptions she gives of seeing the world from inside her mobile home in the song, “My House,” there is a story being told that everyone is going to want to hear. She has a way of telling us how she sees life using words that most of us would not think of, but yet we understand exactly what she’s talking about. It takes a special talent to find the right words to express their thoughts, and be able to create a feeling. Kacey Musgraves can do that. The words tell stories, the melodies are catchy, and every time one song comes to an end, you are anxiously waiting for the next one to begin.
I don’t think there’s much in life that Kacey has missed. Not much she hasn’t noticed. She reminds me of a person who could ask how you do something, just as easily as she could tell someone ‘that’s how it’s done.’ I don’t have to know her to know that I like the way she seems to look at life. Everything she has ever seen or done seems to come through in her music.
Kacey has been busy throughout her career. She has already been on tour with Lady Antebellum, and she wrote “Mama’s Broken Heart” for Miranda Lambert. She is nominated for Top New Female Artist, Top Female Vocalist, and Music Video of the Year-Merry Go ‘Round, at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards, which will be televised live on Sunday, April 7, at 8 p.m. on CBS.
Currently on tour with Kenny Chesney, Kacey has a calendar full of upcoming shows that you can view when you visit her web site http://www.kaceymusgraves.com/. You can also follow her on Twitter @KaceyMusgraves. Be sure to visit Country’s Chatter, too, where you can find all the latest news from Nashville, view videos, and even enter contests to win CDs, t-shirts, and other great prizes from up-and-coming artists, as well as some of biggest names in country music. The web address is http://www.countryschatter.com , and follow us on Twitter @countryschatter.
Music Charts Magazine Kacey Musgraves CD Review by
Country’s Chatter dot com ( Your source for Country Music )
Flatt Lonesome – Flatt Lonesome
by: W.J. Hallock
Label: Pisgah Ridge
Released: January, 2013
This CD, by “FLATT LONESOME,” is compelling evidence that the future of bluegrass music is in talented, capable and passionate hands. On this, their debut release on Pisgah Ridge Records, they play with a nostalgic, traditional feel, the result being an authentic homage to their predecessors.
Their vocals shine with a “family” flavor that only siblings seem to naturally and inherently possess. Kelsi, Charli and Buddy Robertson sing three part harmony with the ease of having been born to do it, and in my humble opinion, they have the potential to one day be as good as the Whites or the Isaacs. As young as they are, and as good as they are, it’s only a matter of time.
Posted by: Prescription Bluegrass Blog
The SteelDrivers – Hammer Down
By: W.J. Hallock
Label: Rounder Records
Release Date: February 2013
From the sounds of the newest CD by THE STEELDRIVERS, it’s obvious that lightning really can strike the same place twice. This release, “HAMMER DOWN,” is the first to include new singer/songwriter Gary Nichols and new mandolin man Brent Truitt. Fiddler Tammy Rogers, bass player Mike Fleming and banjo ace Richard Bailey must have had the gods of musical fate looking over their shoulders, because the replacements they found for Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson don’t miss a lick, sliding right into place and keeping the band’s momentum motorin’ right along.
This recording is every bit as distinct, different and edgy as their previous CD’s, maybe even more so…… there are songs you’ll hear on this one that are a direct result of the three remaining members charging full steam ahead, flexing their musical muscles and lighting a fire under the project. Having long time Producer/engineer Luke Wooten’s technical stability and talent in the mix also helped to keep that STEELDRIVERS “machismo” intact.