Monday, February 9, 2015

COUNTRY JACK HARPER - Here's a few I wrote...and a few I didn't

COUNTRY JACK HARPER
Here's a few I wrote...and a few I didn't
I'd Say We're Even - I'll Never Stand In Your Way - Crawfish Crawfish - I Love you Because - The Strangest Thing I Ever Saw - Heart of a Clown - Baby's Gone - Here Comes My Baby Back Again - Go West Young Man, to West Monroe - I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven - Mississippi
 
I am very familiar with Gene Breeden who is the lead guitarist and producer of this CD.  Breeden knows what country music is, and he also knows what it isn't.  Fortunately for Country Jack Harper, Gene did a remarkably good job keeping this CD right down the line classic and traditional country music.  The first song that grabbed me was "Crawfish Crawfish" ... WOW the fiddle and Dobro are magnificent on this song.  I mean these guys are having "FUN" recording this one.  And believe it or not it's a well written Jack Harper song full of fun.  But, he doesn't linger in that aura, he jumps right back into classic country.  That's what makes listening to CD's that do not come from the 'mill' in Nashville so much fun these days.  It's still 'real' and it's still 'authentic.'  The musicians in Nashville can play anything, and do, but some of them still know what that 'true' country sound is like, and they dig until they find it.  That's what happened for lucky Jack Harper on this session.  It is extremely well mixed, and ALL of the musicians are enjoying doing this session.  Probably won't make a spot next to Blake Shelton on the top-40, that takes tons of money, but if it did, it would be above him.    Of the ten songs on this super good listening experience, I like Jack's own originals best.  He makes a nice blend of the combination, but I like his humor best, especially in "That's The Strangest Thing I Ever Saw" which has a nice Ray Stevens touch to it, but still it's Jack's own song through and through.  All of his own originals stand out considerably in this session.  He picked some nice 'other' songs to record, but his own are the best.  Gene Breeden did a super nice job on the session and the mix, for my poor old 'country' ear, it's right on the mark.  He invited Barry Wayne to do the drums as well as engineering; Billy Anderson on piano and bass; John Heinrich on steel guitar, Dobro, and banjo, and David Russell on fiddle.  Sure do like that fiddle Mr. Russell....you are the mandatory in 'real' country music, don't let them put you on a shelf.   Singers came in handy too; Lorraine Walden, Les Barnett, and Barry Wayne.  Off this one goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net

DON JOY & MELANIE LYNN - Take My Heart Along

DON JOY & MELANIE LYNN
Take My Heart Along
Back Again To Stay - Take My Heart Along - Old Fashioned Love - I'll Still Be Loving You - Makin' Music All Night Long - I'll Take The Teardrops From Your Eyes - Timeless and True Love - Played One Time Too Many - If You'd Like Some Lovin' - Love's Cheating Line - You're Running Wild
 
 It's always a little bit of a 'tremor' when I listen to country music today, never sure what I'm going to hear, but I never fail to be impressed by the 'originality' I hear sometimes.  Don Joy has a farm down in Missouri, and is probably the last person you might expect to write 'love' songs, but indeed, that is exactly what he does.  As the CD progresses, after starting out with some nice western swing on the first song, the backing musicians also recognize these originals as exactly that, and they too, hear the 'love' song in them.  Not sure how long Don and Melanie have been singing, my only 'suggestion' in this fine work is for Melanie to 'soften' her voice just a little, and listen closely to what Don is singing so that she stays right next to him vocally.  This whole CD is chock full of terrific classic and traditional country music, very unlike what is happening in Nashville these days.  The musicians are A-one, super good, and feel the music just as they should.  Recorded at Electric Arts Recording Studio in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, Don found some music makers that really 'understand' his music.  We don't know who the music makers are, but they are good throughout, and cheers to the engineer who did the final mix, right on where it should be. Don's music, I believe, is from his heart, and he writes from experience as well.  It's amazing how Don can write about love, winning love, losing love, and searching for love, and finding it as well.  Super neat listening experience here. Five of the twelve songs on this CD were written by Don and Melanie.  Add to that some excellent other originals by other writers I've not had the opportunity to hear, makes for a very nice listening experience. This delightful couple are heading for their debut performance on "Midwest Country" an RFD-TV television show  emanating from Sandstone, Minnesota, that still maintains the excellence of 'real' classic and traditional country music.  It will be fun to see them performing together on this show which is quite well produced.  My favorite spot on this recording is in "Timeless and True Love" where the steel player turns to the Dobro to add that very special down-home authentic 'realness' to what country music is all about.  The fiddle too makes this song special.  My favorite on this CD without a doubt.  Off this fine selection of traditional and classic country tunes goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  Who knows what they will do, but I'm sure they will do something.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - www.ntcma.net

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