CD Reviews
07/04

 


Donna Boyd
All Roads
Star Rating: * * * * * * * * * -

Tracks; All Roads Lead Back To You, My Whole World, Who's Gonna Be Your Next Love, 10,000 Pieces, Hangin' Around, Look Who's Talking Now, Loose Change, I Ain't Your Baby No More, Long Lost Love, You Are What You Do, I Miss Who I Was With You.

Born in Sydney New South Wales and coming up through the Sydney cabaret circuit, Donna left her homeland to travel overseas, spending nine years in London, New York, Orlando and Miami.

But it was while visiting Nashville, Tennessee, that Donna heeded the call of her true passion - her love of Country Music, and became inspired to realise her dream.

After returning to Australia in 1997, she began in earnest, to work on her career and started to compose songs, both solo and in collaboration with other fine Australian writers such as Allan Caswell(On The Inside) and Michael Carr.

In January 2003 she was the winner of the "T.I.A.R.A". award, consolidating her position as "Best Female Independent Vocalist", while unbeknown to her, during an earlier appearance in Sydney, at the Galston Country Music Festival, she caught the attention of it's patron, Frank Ifield. This led to her winning the coveted "Frank Ifield International Spur Award", which ensured that her debut album, or single's, would be released all over the U.K. and Europe.

"All Roads" is an 11 track album that had instant appeal on first play. So I then set about picking my favourites, and when I say that I marked 10 out of the 11 as personal favourites, then that gives you an idea of the standard we are talking about here! Australia has been producing some fine talent in the Country music field for quite some time now and the young, Donna Boyd, is a fine example of that!

At time of writing, the album has already spawned several HIT Singles here in the U.K and in Europe. Released via the highly acclaimed media cd "Country Hotdisc", to radio station's all over the U.K, as well as the rest of Europe, "All Roads Lead Back To You", "Loose Change" and "10,000 pieces", have all seen top10 action in the country music charts, and very deservedly so too!

If I had to nail down my favourite track on here, I would have to go for the wonderful Jim Lauderdale/John Leventhal composition "I Miss Who I Was With You" with the lively shuffler "Loose Change" coming a very close second. Jim Lauderdale is also responsible for the title track, "All Roads Lead Back To You", while other top writers contributing to the project include Bob DePiero and Kim Richey. The latter being responsible for the only track on the album that didn't appeal to me, but that said, Kim also wrote the wonderful tale of lost love, "My Whole World". It was also good to see that Donna had herself written a track on here with the very catchy swing tune, "Long Lost Love", a song co-written with Michael Carr who provides backing vocals on the track.

"All Roads" is a wonderful debut and with the legendary Frank Ifield in her corner, Donna is surely destined for bigger things.

The CD is available throughout Australia, distributed by One Stop Entertainment and can be purchased at HMV Stores and all reputable music outlets. For overseas customers, it is also available for purchase and online listening through Donna's website. See the link below.

©2003
Website: www.donnaboyd.com E:Mail: me@DonnaBoyd.com

Gerry Ford
Family Bible
Star Rating: * * * * * * * * - -

Family Bible, Who Will Sing For Me, Lord I'd Forgotten, One Of These Days, Someone Is Looking For Someone Like You, He Took Your Place, What God Has Joined Together, Jesus I Need To Talk To You, Medley(I'll Fly Away, Will The Circle, I Saw The Light etc), Just A Closer Walk With Thee, 'Til I'm Too Old To Die Young, Gone Away.

Currently celebrating his 25th anniversary as a professional entertainer, Gerry Ford is recognised as Scotland`s leading Country Music Singer/Songwriter.

As a singer Gerry's style is in a traditional vein, relaxed, smooth presentation, covering songs from Hank Williams to Garth Brooks and Jim Reeves to Alan Jackson, interspersed with compositions of his own. To date he has recorded 15 albums, 12 of them in Nashville and has appeared on the "Grand Ole Opry" on 21 occasions as guest of Jean Shepard. Quite a feat for this genial Irish man, who for many years now has made Scotland his home. On this 12 track Gospel release, Gerry mixes traditional Gospel with contemporary Christian Country in order to give the album a wider appeal than simply an all out "Gospel" album. Gerry achieves this by first, looking to some of country music's greats such as, Earl Montgomery for "One Of These Days" and "Lets All Go Down To The River", Flatt And Scruggs "He Took Your Place" and Boxcar Willie for "Jesus I Need To Talk To You", while the title track "Family Bible", will probably be best remembered as recorded by George Jones many years ago.

Gerry then adds a bit of modern contemporary/christian country as he looks the way of a couple of today's finest singer/songwriters. Paul Overstreet for the superb "What God Has Joined Together" and Gail Davies for her classic"Someone Is Looking For Someone Like You", while Austraia's Johnny Chester provides "Lord I'd Forgotten".

Then there's a traditional gospel medley, taking in the Carters "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", Hank Williams "I Saw The Light", pulled together with a couple of traditional tunes, "I'll Fly Away" and "Somebody Touched Me", while fine readings of the classic "Just A Closer Walk With Thee". "Gone Away" and "Who Will Sing For Me" round off a fine release from this popular artist and one that is sure to sell well, given the way that he has been careful not to plant the album too firmly in the Gospel only pot!

Although not usually one for religious music, I really enjoyed reviewing this cd from Gerry and I have no problem at all in reccomending it very highly!

© ATCOR
Website: www.gerryford.co.uk E:Mail: Gerryford@madasafish.com

Jim Glaser
Me And My Dream
Star Rating: * * * * * * * * * -

She's Free But She's Not Easy, If I Had You To Love Over Again, Mason Dixon Line, Happy Hour Blues, Don't Say Love, I See His Love All Over You, United Airlines, When Will It Be My Turn, Who Were You Thinkin' Of, Georgia Sunshine, Hard Times.

As members of the Grand Ole Opry for fifteen years, Jim Glaser and his brothers (Tompall and Chuck) not only paved the way for modern country groups, but also won virtually, every group award country had to offer. Billboard named them the most awarded country group of the time.

In 1980, following the break up of the group, Jim set out on a solo career, and his first release, "When You're Not A Lady," still holds the record for being the most successful first release of a new label, staying on the national charts an incredible 34 weeks. In 1984, his "You're Getting' To Me Again" hit number one on Billboard's charts, and he was voted Top New Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music. Jim's first solo album, the critically- acclaimed The Man In The Mirror, stayed in Billboard's charts for over a year and a half, and held six well-received singles.

This new album contains 11 tracks, 9 of which are co-writes, one written by Jim alone and the only alian track being a fine version of Stephen Foster's much recorded "Hard Times", sung accapella of course. Many of the tracks on here may be recognised as hits for other artists, such as the wonderful, "Who Were You Thinkin' Of", a hit for the Texas Tornadoes in the 1990's, even though the video was banned by CMT until it had been toned down. Jim's original recording of the song in the 70s was banned by the BBC in the U.K, although that only served to increase it's popularity. Great song!!!

Another song on here "Don't Say Love", was first recorded by co-writer Jimmy Payne, while Connie Smith later recorded the song as an album cut. More recently the song was picked up by popular Irish star Daniel O'Donnell and it's easy to hear why, with it's catchy, bouncing rhythm that appeals so much to artists and fans from the emerald isle. Jimmy Payne also contributes to another 3 songs on here. "I See His Love All Over You", was first recorded by 'The Glaser Brothers', although Jim also released the song solo, as a single in the 70s. "Georgia Sunshine" and the album's opener "She's Free But She's Not Easy" complete the quartet of Payne co-writes with Jim's daughter, Lynne Glaser Harr making her dad proud by providing background vocals on the latter, while the former is a lively two stepper that I found impossible to keep my feet still to.

"Mason Dixon Line", is one of my favourite cuts on the album, and although originally written from a womans point of view, Jim turns it around this time to be seen from a man's perspective and it works just as well. "United Airlines" is another of the new songs that I really liked, with it's carribean flavour and definite "Margaritaville" feel about it. Jimmy Buffet might even record it himself if he heard it!

If you like a nice slushy ballad then Jim obliges with "If I Had You To Love Over Again", a pop/country tune with a distinctly 70s, early 80s feel about it.

"Me And My Dream" is a fine album from this country music legend. An album that mixes well, new version's of old songs with some excellent new material. There are no "fillers" on here, I enjoyed every track from beginning to end. For details fo how to get your copy, get along to Jim's website, the address of which is at the foot of this review. You won't be dissapointed!!

©
Website: www.jimglaser.com E:Mail: jim.glaser@earthlink.net

Royal Wade
Kimes
A Dying Breed
Star Rating: * * * * * * * * * *

Mile High Honey, A Dyin' Breed, Puttin' On, Ball & Chain, Senorita, There Ain't Enough Miles, Night Birds(with Garth Brooks), Boogie Man, Gunslinger, Good Guys, Where Have All The Cowboys Gone.

Born in the deep South and descended from a band of bank-robbing outlaws, Royal Wade Kimes embodies the spirit of the American cowboy. At age 14, with stars in his eyes and heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne, Kimes began writing songs glorifying the Old West and traditional cowboy ethics. Having penned hits for Garth Brooks, Diamond Rio and Gene Watson, there are real stories to his songs.

Kimes first album, "Another Man's Sky", released on the 'Asylum' label, produced a top 20 hit with "Courage of Daniel", while his second album, 'Hangin' Around the Moon', released on the independent, 'Wonderment Records' label, soared to #1 on the World Major/INDIE chart. The album also won the coveted Will 'Rogers Masters Award' and was voted Album of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists.

Unfortunately, you don't get to hear very much Country and WESTERN music these days, so when this latest release "A Dyin' Breed" dropped through the letterbox, I was keen to put the cd in the player! I wasn't dissapointed!!! 11 songs all written or co-written by Kimes and boasting contributing talent from the likes of Sheb Wooley and Kent Blazy on the songwriting side and Garth Brooks, whose duet with Kimes on "Night Birds," is an absolute cracker of a power ballad that unsurprisingly proved hugely popular both in the U.S. and oversea's, soaring to #1 on the E.M.S. European chart.

Actress Leslie Easterbrook also has a penchant for songwriting as she co-penned the album's opening track, "Mile High Honey", another highlight of the album that tells of a rodeo rider giving up the life he love's in favour of a walk down the isle with the girl he loves. Rodeo riding is also the theme for the lively "Puttin' On", a rock and roller that is sure to get the feet moving.

One of my favourite songs on the album, "There Ain't Enough Miles" tells of leaving town after a break-up only to make things up again on the phone later and "I'm in my old pick-up and I'm headin' for home". I bet there's many a cowboy can relate to that one. In fact, cowboy or not, I bet there's many can relate to it!!

How many can remember watching the old cowboy movies as kids? Kimes remimisces about those days with references to Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger in "Good Guy's" and then asks "Were Have All The Cowboy's Gone" as he remembers John Wayne and Gary Cooper while giving Tex Ritter a mention as singer of so many of those old cowboy songs.

There seems to be a thing these days for 'hidden tracks" and this album is no exception........although it isn't all that well hidden, fading in after the 11 to 12 second mark and it does tell you about it at the foot of the track listing! The song, "In My Land" is a patriotic song about the second ammendment and liberty in America.

In 2003 the AWA honored Kimes with 12 nominations including Entertainer of the Year. With an album this good, there should be a good chance of Royal picking up some honours in 2004. This is definitely one of my favourite albums of the year so far and I have no hesitation at all in recommending it very highly indeed!! If your local record dealer can't get it for you then visit the website below for details of how to get hold of a copy.

©

The Haley Sisters
To Be With You Tonight
Star Rating: * * * * * * * * * *
To Be With You Tonight, Somewhere Along The Road, I Got It Anyway, Sometimes, Can't Walk Away From The Blues, It's Hard To Carry On, Ain't No Substitute For Love, Time Is A Moment, Love Is, Same Old Everyday.
Jo-Ann and Becky Haley, two delightful and talented sisters from Harden, a small village just outside of Bingley, Yorkshire, emerged in the early 1990s as one of the freshest and most distinctive act's on the British country music scene.

They toured the Country Music clubs all over the country, recorded several albums(including one in Nashville), and toured the theatre circuit in the company of Daniel O'Donnell during his two sell-out 1992 tours.

Later, adding the multi-instrumental skills of Brian Smith, (Brian is one of Britain's finest Guitarist's, and is also a skilled studio musician. He has played on the road with Crystal Gayle and also in the studios for her Three Good Reasons album) they changed their name to 'The Haleys' and walked off with the top band award at the British Country Music Awards, not once, but twice and toured extensively across Europe.

For this latest album, they have stepped out with a set of all original songs. Becky, who has increasingly been turning her hand to songwriting, admits that initially she found it hard going, but with encouragement she has been busy co-writing with her now husband, lead guitarist Brian Smith for this set of all self-penned songs.

There are 10 songs on the album, kicking off with three slow ballad's. The title and opening track is a slow bluesy number with some great guitar picking from Brian, that tells of love from the viewpoint of the other woman while the pace picks up slightly for "Somewhere Along The Road", a terrific little song telling of a love gone bad. The tempo slows down again for "I Got It Anyway" before the jaunty, and very catchy "Sometimes". I love this one!!!

The pace finally picks up on track 5 and it was well worth the wait, although I personally, would have preffered it to have been sooner rather than later! "Can't Walk Away From The Blues" is a great track with an infectious rhythm that is sure to be very popular with the linedancers.......in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a dance has already been choreographed for it. Great track!!

"Ain't No Substitute For Love" and "Love Is" are another couple of tracks for the dancers', but the formers short running time of 1min 48sec wouldn't give them much time to get on their feet. The song has a sudden, surprise finish to it which can give a song a bit of character.

"Time Is A Moment" see's the girls looking back on their life and reflecting on how time seem's to move by quicker as we get older.............doesn't it just!!!

Joanne, Becky and Brian state on the back cover that this is an album they are truly proud of, and so they should be!! This is a marvellous piece of work, complemented by the talents of the other musician's on the project. Bob Dixon is first class on Pedal Steel and Dobro as is the wonderful Sarah Curran on Piano and Electric Organ. The songwriting is absolutely first rate and the girls harmonies and phrasing are superb. The guitar playing of Brian Smith is also just phenominal, but then there are many who already know that, as he has done much session work in Nashville, and played on one of Crystal Gayle's albums!!

"To Be With You Tonight" is a bit of a rarity for a british club act in that it contains 100% original material, and it will be interesting to see how it gets on with the "sing something we know" breed of listener that they would normally play....and sell their cd's to.....at their "LIVE" shows, as they tour up and down the country playing the country music club scene. Personally, I think it is a welcome breath of fresh air, but that's not to say that it hasn't been done before. Indeed, there are several others who have been brave enough to try it, but it's only a very small percentage of the many acts who tour the country club scene in England, who have successfully sold a large amount of their "all original" cd's.

After 11 years playing the small clubs, maybe the time is right for the Haley's to step up a gear and onto the next level, playing the larger venue's, like theatre's and such. Charlie Landsborough did it and with the quality on offer here, I feel the girls...and Brian are ready to do it too!!

I have no hesitation in recommending that you buy this album. "To Be With You Tonight" should be with you tonight! If you can't get to a 'LIVE' gig, then visit the website below...right now... for details of how to purchase your copy.


Very Highly Recommended!!!

©2004
Website: www.cometrecords.net E:Mail: enquiries@cometrecords.net


 

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