2000 Diamond Blue
Considered by many to be one of the North of England's premier country bands, Crazy River Band are Mike Frankland - lead guitar and harmony vocal, Mark Hopps - bass and harmony vocal, Mike Shepherd - lead vocal and rhythm guitar and Graham Smith - drums and percussion.
Since 1998, the band have received the following awards from the North America Country Music Association; International Songwriter of the Year (New Country) - 1998, International Band of the Year - 1999, International Album of the Year (New Country) - 1999, International Songwriter Horizon Award - 1999, International Songwriter of the Year (Traditional) - 2000, International Songwriter of the Year (New Country) - 2000, International Album of the Year (New Country) - 2001, International Songwriter of the Year (Traditional) - 2001, International Songwriter of the Year (New Country) - 2001 and International Co-Songwriter of the Year (Traditional) - 2001. Whilst in Tennessee to receive some of these awards in 1999, they appeared on stage with major country artists, Donna Fargo, Liz Anderson, and Lynn Anderson. In 2001 they played at the NACMAI Award Ceremony day in the Louise Mandrell Theatre in Pigeon Forge, the only International Act to be asked to do so. proving that this U.K. Country/Rock band can do the business on either side of the water.
This latest offering from the band contains 12 songs, with the title track being reprised at the end as an instrumental. Of the 12, 10 are penned by vocalist Mike Shepherd, with "Working On Love" coming from the combined pen's of Tony Glen Rast, Alan Shipston, Duncan Wayne and Fatima Atchley while "No Judgement Please" was written by Rhonnie Scheuerman.
Top picks for me include the title track, "Edge Of A Knife" a good, catchy tune that bobs along at a steady pace,….I could imagine 'The Highwaymen' (Cash, Jennings & co) doing this one………. with some excellent guitar work from Mike Frankland, then there's the beautiful, acoustically performed love ballad "I Can't Believe" and the very catchy, "Lady Valentine." The tempo rises with the lively "Love Was My Intention," while, if you have a liking for good story songs, there's a good one here in the wonderful story of "The Preacher." "Down The Coast" evokes a feeling of driving along the highway in the summer with the top down, while if hard Country/Rocking is your thing, you're catered for by way of "Workin' On Love," a bit too heavy for me this one.
Listening to this album leaves me in no doubt that Crazy River Band are a very talented outfit, with the strong songwriting and vocals of Mike Shepherd and some brilliant musicianship from the rest of the band, especially Mike Frankland on lead guitar…..can this guy play!!! I don't know how far this band get with their touring, but one things for sure, if they get around our neck of the woods up here in the north west of England, I'll definitely be there!