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Metro Country CD Review's 2006

Star Ratings; 10 Excellent, 8 Very Good, 6 Good, 4 Average, 2 Below Average.

Tracks: It's The Whiskey That Eases The Pain, Sunday With My Son, The Writer, Sinner, This Weary Way, I Wouldn't Live In Harlan County, When It's, Raining After Midnight, In The Mountains, My Last Bottle of Wine, Crash On The Highway, Since Jesus Came Into My Heart, What I Really Need Is You, Folsom Prison Blues.

Growing up on a tobacco farm in Crane's Nest, Kentucky in the 30's and 40's, music was always an integral part of his life, but he often kept his talents to himself. It was on the West Coast, at 40 years old, that Wayne finally put a band together and began playing in dusty taverns and roadhouses all over California.

He played the West Coast circuit for almost twenty years and wrote songs the entire time. But he never played his own songs in public. He gave the crowds what they wanted to hear and what he was paid to play hits the audience knew and could dance to. Now, at the age of 71, his son, Darryll Scott(also a songwriter/recording artist) has finally got him to record an album of his own songs and "This Weary Way" is the result. Incredibly, this is Wayne's debut album!

Four themes fill his stories - work, family, church and music - in that order and you will hear an excellent endorsement of that fact, from a man who despite his age, still has a fine voice for the songs he writes.

Joined on this album by such luminaries as; Guy Clark & Tim O'Brien, the songs which, were recorded in different locations including half in his son Darryll's living room and one in his own, are a pure delight to listen to, with sparse, acoustic backing, from excellent musician's, Dirk Powell, Casey Driessen, Dan Dugmore, Danny Thompson, Darrell Scott, and many others..

Apparently, he doesn't understand why his son got him to make this album. When you listen to it, you will know!! Although 71 years old, I hope this will be the first of many from, a man who doesn't know just how good he is!! One of my top albums of 2006!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

Tracks: Country as a city girl can be, Ride 'Em Cowboy, I Ain't Your Jailer, The Juice ain't Worth The Squeeze, No Trespassin', Everything, You Know How It Is, Let Somebody Love You, Give, Roll With The Changes, Savin' It Up For Saturday Night, What Turns Me On, Feel Like Rockin'.

Lantana(a hardy Texas flower) are an all female group from Texas, consisting of Biz Haddock, Karol Ann DeLong and Dalene Richelle(formally from Canada but now living in Texas), with stunning good looks that equal their top drawer vocal abilities!

Although all the girls write, there is only one self penned tune on here but, the song(The Juice Ain't Worth The Squeeze) is one of the best tracks on the album.

Don't expect too much traditional country from these girls, at least not on this CD, instead, a more eclectic mix, as they visit traditional, bluegrass, country/rock, country/pop and pop ballad's. Throughout the album the musicianship is outstanding, with multi-instrumentalist Bobby Flores contributing his many talent's well. As are the girls vocals, with the only let down, for a country music fan, being some of the material. If your taste in music varies well outside of country then, I think, you will like this debut album, from a talented girl band who are looking to find their feet in this music business.

Metro Country Rating: 7/10

HERMANN LAMMERS MEYER .......................................YESTERDAY ONCE MORE
Tracks; San Antonio Rose, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Silver Wings, Yellow Rose Of Texas, Today I Started Loving You Again, Yesterday Once More, The Bottle Let Me Down, The Wild Side Of Life, If You're Gonna Play In Texas, Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboy's, Truck Driving Man. Bonus Track: The Old Bear.
A new release from this genial, German artist, is always welcome when it comes popping through my letterbox and once again, Hermann has gone over to Nashville to employ the services of some of their top musician's.

As is usual on most of his recording's........... although a highly proficient pedal steel guitarist himself.......... he employs the services of renowned, Nashville, steel guitarist, Buddy Emmons, along with Buddy Spicher & Rob Hajacos on fiddle, Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano and Terry McMillan on Harmonica, just to name a...... mouth watering......few.

There are 13 tracks on the cd, with 12 of them being his most requested songs on the road. There are covers from Willie Nelson, Bob Wills(Cindy Walker), Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, Ed Bruce and 3 from my own favourite artist, Merle Haggard, while the title track was a hit for Moe Bandy.

Marion Möhring joins Hermann for a duet on Haggard's "The Bottle Let Me Down" and The Callaways, once again, provide excellent backing vocals. The bonus track is a H.L.M original called "The Old Bear", a wonderful monologue, presented only as the man can! Brilliant!!

Excellently produced by the man himself, along with Tom Kawai, "Yesterday Once More" is a very enjoyable CD of country music classic's, excellently performed by this talented, German artist!!

Metro Country Rating; 9/10

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NATALIE STOVALL ...................................................LATE NIGHT CONVERSATIONS
Tracks: Intro, Everytime You're With Me, This Time, You're The Reason, I Needed You, Stronger, If I Run To You Now, Who's That Other Man, Better, Like Nothing Else, What Can I Do, No Other, Maybe I'm Amazed, Angel (For Granny)

Although in her early twenties, Natalie is no newcomer to the country music scene. She has lived in Nashville all her life and has made a living in the industry one way or another since she was five years old. As a child performer in the Opryland Kid's Club she had the opportunity to

perform on such programs as the Oprah Winfrey Show, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase and even performed solo on the Grand Ole Opry.

This, her second album, contains a very generous 14 tracks, 11 of which are self penned. The album, although rooted in Country music, contains an eclectic mix of styles, ranging from Country to Blues, from Soul to Pop and more or less anything in-between. An album for traditional Country music fan's, this is not, but, if you're taste in the music is varied, then read on.

The opening track is a 40 second "Intro" taken from track #2 that, has Natalie's vocal going into an echo effect, which I personally, found very odd, but then, others may differ. A very strange track indeed and one that had me wondering what was coming next but, as I listened on, I realised that it was just a blip on an otherwise, very good album!

"If I Run To You Now" made the top fifty in November of last year on the "New Music Weekly" radio charts and though it's a good song, the standout track for me, has to be the self penned, "You're The Reason", a very radio friendly track with a soulful rhythm and a very catchy melody that, I'm sure, could be a big crossover hit if released as a single!

A surprise for me was a version of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed", but what an incredible job she does of the song! Not country but, I like it, and I'm sure Sir Paul would too if he heard it (maybe he already has?) It's a song he wrote (about his wife Linda) in 1969 just after "The Beatles" broke up and was included on his first solo album.

All in all, "Late Night Conversations" is a very good album, but I would advise that you pay a visit to Natalie's website where you can hear some clips of it first before you part with your money as, it is not all Country music!

Metro Country Rating: 8/10


Tracks; Low Man On A Totempole, Groovesville, Homebrew Hooch, Groover's Bop, I Can't Stand It, Blue Smoke, Town Hall Shuffle,The Manhunt, Guy did Get My Bread, Hop Scotch, Black Mountain Rag, Bronco Boogie, West Indies Groove.

Miss Mary Ann is a Founding member of Western Swing/Rockabilly act 'The Ranch Girls', a very popular duo who have played all over the world. Now living in London, she has now gone solo but, still uses "Ranch Girls" backing band from Rotterdam, 'The Ragtime Wranglers',
musicians who have also been the favourite accompanists of no-one less than: Sid King, Hardrock Gunter, Curtis Gordon, the Collins Kids, Marvin Rainwater, Jack Earls, Barbara Pittman, Janis Martin and many more . . . . .

The album consists of mainly Rockabilly music but, there is some Country on here too, including an excellent version of Faron Young's "Forget About The Past" There's also a nice version of Marty Robbins' "I Can't Quit" and the title track, "Don't stop The Music". I also like her excellent version of Orville Couch's "Easy does It".

A class album that should be on the shopping list of all fans of this genré of music!!

Metro Country Rating: 8/10

Tracks: Take To The Water, Hickory Wind, Going To California, I Can't Understand Why, Here Come The Memories, Old Man As He Walks Out The Door. Floyd Johnson, Blue Blue Heaven, Ain't No Ash Will Burn, Pretty Peggie-o, Red-Winged Blackbird, Bonus Track; Hickory Wind(Acoustic)

Mockingbird, is the fourth recording from Sally Spring, a singer/songwriter who was a folk-rock legend of the New York/Los Angeles music scene during the 70s and early 80s. The album features contribution's from Tift Merritt, Marshall Crenshaw, Caitlin Cary (Tres Chicas, Whiskeytown), Thad Cockrell and Gene Parsons (the Byrds), who writes; "I met Sally Spring about thirty years ago while touring through the South. I was taken by her wonderful voice, her gentle and soulful approach to song, her guitar and I was taken particularly with Sally as a person. Her vocal phrasing is unique and pleasing with a voice so rich and full that there is always more to discover as you listen over and over. She was fantastic thirty years ago but now she has even more depth and maturity in her performance. She is a treasure." -- Gene Parsons (Byrds)

11 tracks, 8 of which are self penned, but although Sally's songwriting is excellent, the standout track, for me, has to be her 'killer', version of the old Gram Parsons classic, "Hickory Wind". The song, disputatiously penned by Gram with "New Christy Minstral" Bob Buchanan, features backing vocals from Gene Parsons and Tift Merritt and is the best version of the song that I've heard since Gram himself! There is also an equally excellent, 'acoustic' version of the song included as a 'bonus' track, making 12 tracks in all.

Sally's 70's roots are evident throughout the album, as she weaves effortlessly, between Folk, Folk/Rock, Country and Country/Rock, all the while adding a contemporary feel, and her wonderfully rich vocals are a pure delight to listen to!

Highly recommended!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

Tracks; A Bad Time To Stop Loving Me, A Chance To Prove My Love, Don't Stop In My World, Don't Let Me Go, I Wish I'd Never Asked, Hard To Say Goodbye, A World Of Love, No Love But Your Love, Another Morning, Love Was What We Had, Word Games, We Love But Once.

Steve Larkman is primarily, a pop/rock musician, vocalist and songwriter but, his recent association with Jeffrey Krugar has found him trying his luck with the country music market.

Although a songwriter, Steve has chosen to record other writer's material for this album but, as I listen, there is very little that sounds country. But that isn't to say that "Word Games" is a bad album, it certainly isn't and I think that there is plenty on here to interest the country music listener, especially here in the UK, where a more liberal look at the music is taken.

The more country sounding song's on here include, "I Wish I'd Never Asked", a song written by country music writer Ray Griff, and Ray Pennington, also a country music writer, provides the lively and very catchy "Don't Stop In My World"

Stand out track's for me include, the above mentioned plus, I also like the very catchy title track "Word Games".

Steve's vocals are faultless and the production throughout is of a very high standard. A very good album for the more eclectic listener that, I would have given a higher rating had there been more country music content!

Metro Country Rating: 7/10


Tracks: The Real Thing, Hank Williams Medley (Setting the woods on fire, Mind your own business, honky tonk blues, why don't you love me), Honey Hush , I Still

Miss Someone, Hung Up On You, Sweet Talk and Good Lies, There Stands The Glass, Crying Time, Storybook Endings, What Made Milwaukee Famous, All Over Again, Golden Ring

One of the U.K's most popular solo artist's with a collection of well sung covers. Most will be familiar, while there are also some lesser covered songs on here such as; G Jones' "Honey Hush" and the 'probably' unheard of "Hung Up On You", written and recorded by Pop/Country-Rockers 'Fountains Of Wayne'. A good song!! Maria Futter joins Jonny for a credible version of the Jones/Wynette classic "Golden Ring" and I am also pleased to see a Heather Myles song on here as she is a very popular touring artist in the U.K. Johnny does a very credible version of her "Sweet Talk And Good Lies".

It's not too difficult to see why Jonny is so popular as, he has a very pleasing vocal style.

A very well produced album!!

Metro Country Rating 7/10