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Metro Country CD Review's 'AUGUST' 2006

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

SPOTLIGHT ALBUM (U.K.)
SPOTLIGHT ALBUM (INTERNATIONAL)
STEVE McCORMICK

DAVE SHERIFF

OVERWORKED AND UNDERPAID

Tracks: Overworked And Underpaid, Red Hot Rock'n'Roller, A Beautiful Day, Live For Today, A Friend In Need, No Better Life Than A Good Life, Dance Like There's Nobody Watching, Better Late Than Never, My Baby's Never Wrong, Wake Up Wake Up! Get A New Love In Your Life, (I Wish I Had A) Bassman Like The Jordanaires, Boogie With My Baby. © 2006

This very popular singer/songwriter has always been a favourite of u.k. fans, especially, the linedancers who have taken him to their hearts(or should that be feet) with his catchy tunes.

For his latest release, this former "One Man Band" decided to make the trek over the water, with an album's worth of self penned songs, to enlist the help of some of Nashville's finest musician's.

Containing 12 songs plus a bonus 13th, the excellent "Boogie With My Baby", the "gem" of this album has to be the song written about Elvis' former backing band, the Jordanaires. "(I Wish I Had A) Bassman Like The Jordanaires" features the deep bass vocals of Ray ‘Bassman’ Walker of the said group and the song is certain to be the most popular with DJ's. I am also sure that the song will prove to be a favourite of traditional country fans.

Produced by top Nashville producer Mark Moseley, who has also done work for many other u.k. artists, Dave has every right to be proud of an album that, mixes top notch British songwriting with, first rate Nashville musicianship and comes out smiling!!

Featuring songs to linedance to, songs to jive to, songs to smooch to and songs to just plain listen to, "Overworked And Underpaid" is an excellent album that should be in every country music fans collection. Come on you British country fans, support British country music and get your copy now!! Details can be found on website below.

Metro Country Rating: 10/10


CODIE PREVOST
THE ROAD AHEAD

Tracks: Better Off Alone, A Million Miles Away, A Lot To Be Said For Leaving, Not Just The Beer Talkin', The Road Ahead, That's Where I Come In, He's Not Me, Woman 101, Life Without Love, Shinin' River, Waste Of Love, Next Weekend.

Recorded in Nashville with producer Steve Fox and featuring 11 original songs, co-written, mostly, with Steve Fox, Codie’s debut album, The Road Ahead”, has already been voted "SCMA Album of the Year" and already includes the hit singles "Not Just the Beer Talkin'", "The Road Ahead", and "He’s Not Me".

So does the album live up to it's hype? You bet it does!! Codie is a young artist, no doubt, full of ambition on making it to the top in this very demanding country music business in the 21st century. And so you expect and get, modern, contemporary country music, whilst still retaining just enough, traditional values.

Codie's raucous style, may, appeal more to the younger listener, with songs that touch on a variety of subjects, from love lost to going out and having some fun with friends. Codie has already received the SCMA "Rising Star" award and is one of Canada’s "To Watch For" singer/songwriters of the year. I have no doubt at all that this young man is on line to make it to the very top of this profession. All he needs is a major label to come in with the faith and money to steer him up that expensive, road!

The latest attainment for this talented artist is the 2006 Saskatchewan Country Music Award Winner!!! "Rising Star" and "Album Of The Year!."

Get along to his website at the following address where you can buy your copy. You won't be disappointed!!!

Metro Country Rating: 8/10

TRAVIS COLLINS

START THE CAR

Tracks: Start The Car, Slow Train Comin', 1000 Memories, Stop, It's Just My Heart, I Was Wrong, Maggie May, My In-Laws Are Outlaws, Just Another Night, Step Inside This House, A Fool Like Me, Barbed Wire And Rose, She Took The Ring, Give It Time.
© 2005

I was sent this cd by Frank Ifield, who recently awarded the dynamic, young, Australian singer,..... who first got started on his trail of success when he won the 2004 Toyota Star Maker Quest.......his annual "Golden Spur Award" in March of this year (2006).

'Start The Car' is a well balanced, modern, contemporary country album, with a slight bias towards upbeat songs, ......as would be expected from such a young artist (22yrs)....... which displays plenty of raw edginess and energy, from a young man who clearly aims to show that he has the talent to make it the very top. From the moment I put the CD in the player and listened to the title cut "Start The Car", I was immediately drawn to how much his voice, uncannily, reminded me of top US artist Collin Raye, and who knows, on this showing, Travis could emulate the superstars success, given two or 3 years time!

With a bumper 14 tracks on offer, there is a mix of material on here, written in part, by some of Nashville's top writers, with some from Australian writers, plus, 4 of his own songs. The only one that I can confess to not liking is his country reworking of Rod Stuart's pop hit of the 60s, 'Maggie May.' Not that I dislike the song, more that it just doesn't work, at least it doesn't for me anyway! That track apart, there isn't a bad track on here, and, as he is already on the major, 'ABC Australia' label, the big money is already on the side of this young artists emerging talent.

Travis recently returned from a three-week trip to the United States, where he successfully performed at three bluegrass festivals in Missouri, as well as at venues in Nashville and Austin. I am most pleased to report that, he’s currently planning a three-month tour of Europe and the United Kingdom in 2007. Just try and keep me away!!!

An excellent piece of work from an emerging, major player on the world-wide country music scene. Keith Urban did it, and I have no reason to doubt that Travis will be right there, vying to emulate his fellow countryman's success, in 2 or 3 years time!

Follow the website link below to find out how to get your hands on a copy of this excellent album!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

JACK BLANCHARD AND MISTY MORGAN
LIFE AND DEATH (And Almost Everything Else)
TRACKS; Tennessee Birdwalk, Big Black Bird, Chapel Hill, The Dum Song, Bethlehem Steel, Poor Jody, Humphrey The Camel, Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker, Changin' Times, The Clock Of St James, You've Got Your Troubles, A Place In Mind, The Autumn Song, How I Lost 31 Pounds In 17 Days, Somewhere In Virginia In The Rain, The Shadows Of The Leaves, There Must Be More To Life, The Legendary Chicken Fairy, Miami Sidewalks, Fire Hydrant #79, Don't It Make You Wanta Go Home, If Eggs Had Legs, Second Tuesday In December, A Handful Of Dimes, It Seems Like There Aint No Going Home, I'm Washing Harry Down The Sink, The Night We Heard The Voice, Lonesome Song, The Sunset Train. (This collection) © 2005
Jack Blanchard and his wife Misty Morgan, had 15 singles on the country charts between 1969 and 1975, although their first getting together was quite uncanny. Firstly, the two were born ...three years apart... in the same hospital in Buffalo, New York. And secondly, both moved to Ohio during childhood, then met on the club circuit in Florida, where Morgan worked as a pianist and singer while Blanchard was performing as a pianist and comedian.

They made their recording debut in 1969 as Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan with the Top 60 single "Big Black Bird" and then the next year, they had their first #1 when they released "Tennessee Bird Walk" which not only made #1 in the Country charts, but also crossed over and did respectably well on the U.S. Pop charts. Further success came with "Humphrey the Camel," which also crossed over to the pop charts.

They moved to Mega in 1971 and scored such hits as "There Must Be More to Life (Than Growing Old)" and "The Legendary Chicken Fairy," then in 1973, the two moved to Epic and had their last major hit, "Just One More Song."

The duo have since enjoyed success on the Indie World Country charts as singles off their self-released "Back From the Dead" albums hit number one.

Now, Australian record company "The Omni Recording Corporation," have jumped in and put their money behind the duo, to release this bumper collection of their past recordings. And a big hand goes out to them for doing so!!

Great care over quality has been taken, with a 12 page booklet containing selected lyrics and exclusive photos, plus liner notes from both noted Australian composer (and CD compiler) David Thrussell and Jack Blanchard.

With 29 tracks squeezed onto 1 CD, this just has to be the bargain of the year....if not, century. Follow the website address below and place an order right away. You won't be disappointed!!

Metro Country Rating: 10/10

STEVE McCORMICK

Tracks: Breaking Hearts, Here I Go Again, I'm Alright Jack, The Other Man, Black & White Photographs, Why Would God Want Me? That Innocent Place, Living In Loserville. © 2006

Steve is a singer/songwriter from Carlisle, in England, with a wide ranging taste in music. Besides a strong leaning into traditional country music, he likes to incorporate ideas taken from listening to folk, blues, rock and pop music, describing his music as alternative country or 'alt.country', which I would say is a pretty fair description these days, at least with what is on offer here.

Getting down to the tracks on here, the opening 'Breaking Hearts' peaked at Number 2 on the Alternative Country charts (both songs hit the Top 20 on the Country charts that are compiled from over 20,000 songs) while my personal favourite, the very catchy and memorable 'I'm Alright, Jack', reached Number 1 on the Rockabilly charts on Soundclick.com. Some great blues licks on this one!

Another song on here, 'If I Could Tell You' has been covered by Chicago-based singer Tanya Witt, while the album's closer, the very bouncy, "Living In Loserville" leaves you wanting for more.

Currently unsigned, Steve has produced this 8 track album himself, and will soon have it for sale on his website and no doubt at gigs, where Steve appears either, with his band or solo.

My only jib is that there are only 8 tracks on here, but recording a CD doesn't come cheap....if you want a decent job doing. Hopefully, a record company may come along at some time and allow this talented singer/songwriter the finance to produce a full album. I believe he's good enough!!

Metro Country Rating 8/10


ROOT'nTOOT'n
RAW AND UNCUT

Tracks: Mandy's On A Diet, Rockabilly Baby, Walking The Floor Over You, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Cry, Cry, Cry, Greenback Dollar, Four In The Morning, There's A New Moon, Tom Dooley, Turn Around, Putting On The Style, Turn My Pictures Upside Down, Itchin' For My Baby, Candy Kisses, Little Red Wagon, She's My Baby (Mee).

Rootn' Tootn' are a trio consisting of Mandy Stroud, who plays Double Slap Bass, Johnny Vee, on Electric Lead Guitar and Colin Mee, on Acoustic Rhythm Guitar, Washboard and Banj Uke. They all contribute vocals, although, Colin takes Lead Vocals as they play a variety of traditional country & hillbilly songs, from artists such as, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Tex Ritter etc.

More and more these days, U.K. acts are taking more care about their recorded work and are giving DJ's a product that, can be considered good enough for airplay,....... besides being something they can personally, be proud of. This trio are certainly following that trend, with a very well produced CD.

The song selection includes many well known standard and traditional tunes apart from the albums closer, a great, fun song penned by vocalist Colin Mee. It's a shame there can't be more original songs on here, but as this is their first album, they very wisely, are playing safe and giving the listener what they know and can sing along to. Hopefully, Colin will put will put more of his own songs on the next one as, on this showing, he can certainly write a good tune.

'Raw And Uncut' is a very enjoyable album from 3 very talented musician's, and I look forward to catching this trio LIVE, somewhere in the near future!!

Metro Country Rating 9/10