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Metro Country CD Review's 2006

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

NEW CD E.P FROM TOM RUSSELL
TRACKS; Who's Gonna Build Your Wall, California Snow, Across The Borderline, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, The Other Side Of Crazy.

WHO'S GONNA BUILD YOUR WALL

The new 5 track E.P. from Tom Russell leads of with "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall", a powerful, catchy, Tex-Mex tune that finds this master songwriter at, probably, his most commercial to date! This is a really exciting release from Tom, that is sure to find it's way on all the DJ's playlist's!!

The pace is slowed right down for "California Snow" a song that tells of how much the state can change, from the very hot summer's, to the desperately cold winter, while "Across The Borderline" is a cover, of the Willie Nelson hit, that Tom rips apart and does in his own, distinctive, style.!

There are two other tracks on here, added as a bonus and they are Out Takes, from his "Love And Fear" album.

Pester your local DJ to put it on his playlist!!

Website http://www.hightone.com


JOY LYNNE WHITE

ONE MORE TIME
TRACKS; Keep This Love, I'm Free, Certain Boy, Girls With Apartment In Nashville, Looking For You Looking For Me, Love Sometimes, If You Want My Heart, Victim Of Love, Good Rockin' Mama, Just Some Girl, One More Time.
The first album I have heard from Joy since her 90s release for the Sony label, "Wild Love", although I did enjoy

her input on the 1999 album 'Doin' Time On Planet Earth" as a guest of 'The Brooklin Cowboys'.

A strong vocal style that takes no prisoners, Joy takes command of each song straight from the off, and wrings just about as much passion and feeling for the lyrics as there is possible.

11 tracks, 9 of which are co-writes and each sung with the conviction that make you believe that she has lived each song herself. Some great Hammond organ and tremolo guitar sounds take me on a journey back to the late 60s early 70s with the wonderful "I'm Free", a co-write with top songwriter Kostas that finds her glad to be free of a cheating partner. Other songs worthy of special note include; "Victim Of Love", ....love that rolling banjo.... the wonderful "Just Some Girl" and "Girls With Apartment In Nashville", all great rythm's that stick in the mind.

If you like your country to rock, then take a listen to the heavy overdrive guitars on the album's opener "Keep This Love", "Good Rockin' Mama" and the 'Status Quo' riffs on "Love Sometimes".

Co-produced by Joy along with top producer Kyle Lehning, "One More Time" is a welcome return from one of country music's most genuine and convincing, singer/songwriters!

Metro Country Rating: 8/10

SARAH BETH KEELEY
TIME

TRACKS; Sometimes Love, When It Rains, Time, Only You, Secrets, If God Could Say Face To Face, Thank You...Hopin' You Heard, Be Strong, Like You Do, Once In A Lifetime, Time(Alternative Version

Born in Calgary, Canada, into a musical family, Sarah was singing in a family band by the time she was 12.

She list's her influences as Sheryl Crow, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Keith Urban, Gretchen Wilson, Shania Twain and Julie Roberts. A long line to choose from, but I think Sheryl Crow meets Fleetwood Mac, would best describe her style, with what's on offer here.

The 10 songs are all self penned and there's an alternative (and more country) version of the title track at the end, making 11 tracks in all. Sarah has a good voice and she sings in a style that suits that voice, but there is very little here to please the 'Country' listener, that's apart from the album's opener, "Sometimes Love", a very catchy, tune that is sure to get the feet moving.

A very decent, self penned, self co-produced piece of work that should stand up well alongside album's of a similar ilk, but I would recommend that the 'Country music' buyer try and listen to some samples on the Internet before parting with their money!

Metro Country Rating: 7/10

THE BOGTROTTERS

LOOKIN' FORWARD
TRACKS; I Wanna Hear It From You, Missin' You, The Fox, Silver Bell + Rose Of San Antone, Galway Girl, Walkin' Down The Road, Donkey Breakdown, That's No Way To Say Goodbye, Ashokan Goodbye, Better Man, Destiny, Past The Point Of Rescue, The Boy In The Bubble, Dream Of Erin.
With a musical direction that leans towards their own arrangements of traditional Irish music, plus a mixture of country and cajun, combined with original songs composed by Tim Flaherty and other band members, the Boggies(as they are affectionately known) play to a wide variety of listeners in the clubs and pubs, mainly, around the U.K, although they have travelled around Europe and played venues in the USA and the Far East.

Formed by Tim Flaherty of the well known and very popular 70s Country band "Poacher", the band is made up from Tim Flaherty : Vocals/ Rhythm guitar/ Whistle, Peter Longdon : 5 string banjo, Alex Johnson: Electric lead & Acoustic guitar / Mandolin, Len Whitehead: Acoustic Guitars, Eimear Bradley : Violin / Whistles / Vocals, Tony Greenhalgh: Drums / Vocals and Jim Hand : Bass guitar / Vocals.

There are some very good songs on the cd, not least the opener, "I Wanna Hear It From You" a rousing and very catchy Tim Flaherty penned song that they have been doing for many years now. In fact, I am fairly sure that the song was written in the days of "POACHER" and performed, and possibly recorded, by that band, as was the Leonard Cohen penned song "That's No way To Say Goodbye".

The band also turn in excellent version's of Mick Hanly's "Past The Point of Rescue" and Steve Earle's "Galway Girl", while there are some good Bluegrass tune's like the blistering, "The Fox", John Dillon's "Walkin' Down The Road" and Banjo player Pete Longden's excellent, self penned instrumental, "Donkey Breakdown". With a sprinkling of good, Irish tunes on top, not least Tim Flaherty's self penned "Dream Of Erin", this is a fine album from a band who also know how to give a terrific LIVE show.

Catch em' when they play near you and make sure you buy a copy of this fine CD!

Oh, and if you should wonder how they came across the name, BOGTROTTERS are Irish tramps, so called for their skill in crossing the Irish bogs from tussock to tussock, either as guide's or to escape pursuit.

Metro Country Rating: 9/10
BILLY JOE SHAVER
THE REAL DEAL
TRACKS; Live Forever, There's No Fool Like An Old Fool, Livin' A Lovin' Lie, It Just Ain't There For Me No More, Jesus Christ Is Still The King, Slim Chance And The Can't Hardly Playboys, I Changed My Mind, Sweet Melody, Valentine, You Ought To Be With Me When I'm Alone, Down The Road By The Way, West Texas Waltz, The Real Deal, If The Trailer's Rockin' Don't Come Knockin', Try And Try Again, Aunt Jessie's Chicken ranch.
The man that Johnny Cash called, his favourite songwriter, releases his first studio album, in three years. And what a bumper cd it is, with 16 tracks, PLUS, a bonus Christmas track, starring Flaco Jimenez on accordion, making a bumper total, of 17 tracks in all!!

Besides Flaco, there are also other artists questing on here, with 'Big And Rich', 'Kevin Fowler', 'Nanci Griffith' and 'Kimmie Rodes', all lending their talents. Billy has gone through a lot of heartache in the last six years, his mother and wife died within a month of each other in 1999, his wife, after a long bout with concerned then his talented, guitarist son, Eddy, died of a drug overdose.

Billy's own health hasn't been too good either, with him suffering a heart attack, necessitating surgery, but he still managed to put together a superb album of pure Texas 'Honky Tonk', seasoned with his own brand of humour and finished off with a touch of Western in the just under 8 minute story of 'Aunt Jessie's Chicken Ranch'. Personal favourites are hard to choose on an album as good as this, but the humorous, "Slim Chance And The Can't Hardly Playboys", the wonderful "West Texas Waltz"(not that one) with Kimmie Rhodes, the infectious "Try And Try Again", and the lone Christian track on the album, "Jesus Christ Is Still The King" are tracks that stand out!

No serious record collection should be without a Billy Joe Shaver in there. If you're already a fan, you'll know what I'm talking about, but if you haven't heard his music before, then I recommend you get along to his website where you'll find some soundbytes that, I'm sure, will convince you. Billy Joe Shaver is the Real Deal!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

JERRY REED
'LIVE'
TRACKS; Guitar Man, Father Time And Gravity, Amos Moses, She Got The Gold Mine(I Got The Shaft), A Thing Called Love, Lord Mr. Ford, When You're Hot You're Hot, Jerry's Breakdown Revisited, A Brand New Me, East Bound And Down.
When it comes to guitar players, there is only one man that I know, who comes anywhere near to Jerry Reed, and sadly, Chet Atkins isn't around anymore!

Born Jerry Reed Hubbard in Atlanta, Georgia on March 20, 1937, "The Guitar Man", releases a "LIVE" album of his most popular songs, that showcase not only his exceptional, guitar talents, but also the wonderful sense of humour that the man has!! Never mind a greatest hits collection, you need a "LIVE" recording to really appreciate the man at his best.

The album (show) kicks off with his very first hit, the appropriately named "Guitar Man", from 1967, and includes "When You're Hot, You're Hot", a #1 in 1971 and "Lord, Mr. Ford," his second #1 a year later.

Some may know him better as an actor, who starred alongside his close friend Burt Reynolds in many film's, most notably, "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings" and the two "Smokey and the Bandit" films, the latter two, spawning the hits, "East Bound and Down." and the chart-topping novelty hit "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).".
A well produced album with my only nit-pick being that it doesn't tell you where it was recorded! Well recommended!!!

Metro Country Rating: 9/10

TOMMY CASH
A Musical Tribute To
"MY BROTHER JOHNNY CASH"
Tracks; Folsom Prison Blues, Ring Of Fire, Give My Love To Rose, Passin' Through, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Five Feet High And Risin', Flesh And Blood, Daddy Sang Bass, Hurt, Get Rhythm, (Medley - Hey Porter, Cry, Cry, Cry), Orange Blossom Special, (Medley - Pickin' Time, Don't Take Your Guns To Town), Ragged Old Flag, Man In Black.

One of seven children, Tommy was born in Arkansas, eight years after his brother Johnny. Signing with Musicor in 1965, he later joined United Artists and then Epic Records. In late 1969, while on Epic, he had his biggest hit, a song dedicated to J. F Kennedy, R.F Kennedy, and Martin Luther King entitled, "Six White Horses.
A year later saw a pair of Top Ten singles: "One Song Away" and "Rise and Shine", besides the Top 20 hit, "I Recall a Gypsy Woman", a song better known by Don Williams.

The vocal similarities are there as Tommy delivers a tribute, via covers of 15 of the great mans hit song's, right from the early Rockabilly days, with a medley of, "Hey Porter" and "Cry, Cry, Cry", through to the classic, "Hurt", from the Grammy nominated "The Man Comes Around" album.

Although not as famous as his big brother, Tommy is a fine artist in his own right, as he proves here with some very good version's of these classic JC songs. I think John would be proud!

Metro Country Rating: 9/10

CHARLIE LANDSBOROUGH
'MY HEART WOULD KNOW'

TRACKS; Always, 24 Hours Times Two, My Heart Would Know, I Am Red, You'll Cast A Mighty Long Shadow, I Know What It Is To be Loved, Maggie, The Closest Thing To My Heart, The Long And Winding Road, Going My Own Sweet Way, Ugly Bug Ball, Moate, He Still Holds You, Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again, Like A Stone, I'll Be Missing You.

Singer/songwriter, Charlie Landsborough has crossed many boundaries with his music since starting out playing the local pubs in Liverpool, all the while working as a schoolteacher in the daytime.
With a backbone in Country music, Charlie's career really took off across the water in Ireland when his single, "What Is The Wind", went to the top of their pop charts.

This latest release contains more new material, encompassing various musical styles, as is the norm with Charlie, but this time out, he has also put down his own interpretation of some of music's classics. Irving Berlin's"Always", is a particular standout for me, but there are also good version's of Lennon and McCartney's "Long And Winding Road", the ever popular "Maggie" and Disney's "Ugly Bug Ball", as this ex school teacher, also remembers the kids (big and little)!

With 11 superb, original songs, mainly in the laid back style that Charlie has become known for, plus the 5 tracks above, that makes "My Heart Would Know" (the title track written for his brother who has 'Alzheimer's') superb value for money, with a whopping 16 tracks!!

Best known for, and excelling at, the ballads, there are plenty to satisfy on here, but Charlie does raise the tempo as needed though, and the penultimate "Like A Stone", find's him almost breaking into a sweat!! Wonderful album of laid back music from a man who is a master at the art!!

Metro Country Rating:10/10

LEFT HAND DRIVE
THE BIG PICTURE
Tracks: Somethin' Happenin' Out There, Goodnight Kiss, Cuba, Lifes A Peach, Cowboy Movies, Paper And A Vow, Stranger, Bluebell Blue, Big Light, When He Drives That Car, Wishin', Trust Me (I'm A Drummer)
Releasing an album of original material is always a big gamble for a British act, as the fans, invariably, want to hear something they know! But 'Left Hand Drive' have chosen to do just that, with an album that was recorded just before the tragic death of
their drummer, Colin Bruton. The band have since decided to split as they don't believe they can be the same band without him, but they felt they had to release the cd.

Originally containing 11 tracks, there is the added bonus of another track, 'Trust Me I'm A Drummer', a song that features Colin on vocals, and was recorded only as a demo in the home studio of bandleader Steve Bidder prior to Colin's death. Under the circumstances, the band took the decision to add the recording as a bonus track, making a total of 12 tracks in all.

All songs are written by vocalist and bandleader Steve Bidder. From love songs, to road songs, to western songs, they are all strong and sit proud on the cd!

With the added talents of Shane O'Bourne, who produced the album as well as adding acoustic guitar and Piano, Aidan Coyle on Acoustics and mandolin, plus Basil Henrick on pedal steel, the album paints a big picture of a band who were very popular at the Country music club venues across the U.K!!

Metro Country Rating: 8/10
JOHNNY BULFORD

SOUTHERN THING
TRACKS; Goodbye Cry, New Song, Now, Just Like Us, Sail Away With Me, Southern Thing, Don't Your Memory Know When To Quit, Sweet Love, That Day, With You, Baby You're Something Else, I've Got A Song For You.

John was born in Orlando Florida on June 19, 1985. With an early interest in Baseball and later Football, it was after going to Garth Brooks "Sevens" tour that he decided, that was what he wanted to do. At the age of 20, Johnny has opened for headliners such as Collin Raye, Josh Turner, Trick Pony etc, as well as a performance with Marty Brown at a writers show for Fan Fair in Nashville.

This is a radio/press released debut from Johnny, that I received around 12 months ago, but unfortunately, didn't manage to review due to....among other reasons.....an impossible amount of cd's flooding in as the site gained dramatically in popularity!

With a title change to "Southern Thing", the album has, in the meantime, seen general release, with three of the original tracks being replaced and another one added. Containing a total of 13 tracks, I'm sure it won't be unlucky for this talented young artist, as there are some real gems on here.

Johnny has a great country voice and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before a label picks him up. Particular favourites for me include the Garth Brooks influenced "New Song", "Just Like Us" and "Now".

The CD can be picked up from CD Baby, who also have clips from the album, at the following address:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/bulford

Metro Country Rating: 8/10

Website:
www.johnnybulford.com


E:mail:

jbulford@cfl.rr.com


TODD FRITSCH
(Self Titled)

TRACKS; I Got Mexico, Small Town Radio, I Don't Live Here Anymore, Memory Do Your Thing, You Know I Would, Dancin' In The Rain, Bob Wills Song, Corpus Christi Callin', Friends Behind bars, First Date(For The Last Time), Walk Softly On The Bridges, Cowboy Legacy(Tribute To Chris LeDoux)

Todd Fritsch is a 24 year old working, Texas cowboy, or at least he was until the release of this excellent 12 track album! REAL country music that can blow the socks off anything the major's are putting out!! That's not just my opinion either. Every single taken from the album has met with success in the Hotdisc International charts, with the superb "Bob Will Song" going to number 1 and staying there for 5 weeks, proving that the DJ's out there want to play this young mans music!

"I Got Mexico" is the same song as recorded by Eddy Raven in the 80s and Todd gives a faithful treatment of the song here.

"Small Town Radio" was the first single released from the album and did well for Todd with a good showing in the charts, but my favourite track on the album is the wonderful "I Don't Live Here Anymore"! The song jumped into the number 5 slot in the Hotdisc International charts, staying there for 3 weeks before inching another up to number 4 as I write (21/05/06) and is still there. No matter how many I play the song, it still make the hairs stand up on my arms!!

As a closer Todd pays tribute to one of his cowboy hero's, Chris Le Doux, with his self penned, "Cowboy Legacy". In a spoken introduction to the song, Todd states, that Chris died as he was recording the album.

This is an excellent cd to have in your collection, from a young artist who is destined to make it big!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

GERRY FORD
TRACKS; If I Live To Be A Hundred , No One Will Ever Know, One More Time, 'Til You Can Make It On Your Own, Another Chance To Dance, Rough Around The Edges, The Grandest Lady Of Them All, Cajun Moon, The Way It Was, The Chance To Live Another Day, Before The Next Teardrop Falls, I Wrote My Own Song, Bonus Trks, Blue Wing, For Reasons I've Forgotten,

ONE MORE TIME

Another release from this ever popular Irish/Scottish crooner and once again, a mix of mainly covers, with a sprinkling of his own self penned original's.

Many of the covers will be instantly recognisable hits from the 60's to the present day, with songs borrowed from the likes of Freddy Fender, Ricky Skaggs, Mel McDaniel, Trisha Yearwood and well known songwriters such as Max D. Barnes, Jamie O'Hara and a regular visitor to these shore's, Tom Russell. In fact, Tom's "Blue Wing" is one of two bonus track's, O'hara's "For Reasons I've Forgotten" being the other. Including "Bonus Tracks" seems to be a common thing these days, but unless the songs are of a different style or recorded differently (acoustic as against with backing) then I don't really understand the practice!

The two original's are the lively "Another Chance To Dance", a certain dance floor filler that recently saw action in the CHi Charts and "I Wrote My Own Song", one that is sure to put a smile on the face of many a songwriter.

As is usual with Gerry, the production is top class and although he is now in the later years of his career, he is still in fine voice. "One More Time" is sure to be welcomed by his legion of fans and it is certainly good enough to win him many more!! There will many 'more time's' before this talented entertainer is finished, I'm convinced of that!!

Metro Country Rating 9/10