My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Woman of the World/To Make a Man’

516eAlwAOmLAs the 1960s drew to a close, Loretta released her final solo LP of the decade. Woman of the World/To Make a Man was comprised of the two hit singles that composed its title as well as songs penned by Loretta, the Wilburn Brothers and their songwriting staff, and of course, the usual covers of recent hits for other artists.

The album is also the beginning of a slight shift in Loretta’s musical style, away from the honky-tonk she’d sung for most of the decade, towards an ever so slightly more sophisticated but still very country sound. “Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone)”, which became her third #1 hit in April 1969, finds her in the familiar territory of confronting a romantic rival, albeit in a much less combative manner than we saw in “You Ain’t Woman Enough” or “Fist City”. The Loretta-penned “To Make a Man (Feel Like a Man)” is an upbeat number dispensing advice to the sisterhood on how to be a good wife. It’s very different from her usual fare up to that point, and the message is more in the vein of what we were used to hearing from Tammy Wynette. It reached #3, but it’s not one of her better remembered hits today.

“The Only Time I Hurt” is another Loretta original that I very much enjoyed, but “Big Sister, Little Sister”, which she co-wrote with Frances Heighton, can only be classified as a misstep. It is a maudlin number, weighed down by dated-sounding Nashville Sound choruses, which casts Loretta as the victim: an older sister who was raised to indulge her younger sibling’s wishes, and carries the habit into adulthood, going as far as to surrender her fiancé to sister.

I enjoyed most of the album’s remakes. “Johnny One Time”, which had been an adult contemporary hit for Brenda Lee and a minor country hit for Willie Nelson the year before, is a bit of a stretch for Loretta but she carries it off credibly. “If You Were Mine To Lose” had been the B-side to a Conway Twitty single. It was also recorded by Waylon Jennings, Carl Smith, and Connie Smith. Apparently no one ever had a hit with it, but it’s a very good song that suits Loretta nicely. She also does a very nice cover of Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again”. Her version of “Stand By Your Man” is not bad, but the production is much more scaled back than the treatment Billy Sherrill gave Tammy Wynette’s version. This is one case where less is not more, and to be fair, no one has or ever will sing that song the way Tammy did.

Woman of the World/To Make a Man allowed Loretta to not only wrap up the 1960s on a high note, it also set the stage for the next and most successful decade of her career. She was still about a year away from releasing her signature tune “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, which would be followed by such hits as “One’s On The Way”, “Rated X” and “Love Is The Foundation”. In 1972 she would become the Country Music Association’s first female Entertainer of the Year, and in 1980 she would be named Artist of the Decade for the 1970s by the Academy of Country Music. Woman of the World/To Make a Man was her segueway from honky-tonk singer to American icon, and it is well worth a listen.

Grade: A

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Wings Upon Your Horns’

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Your Squaw Is On The Warpath’

MI0003863545Loretta Lynn had released about a dozen albums by the time Your Squaw is on the Warpath was released in 1969. It was her first album released that year and saw her teaming up again with Owen Bradley and Decca Records.

Lynn either wrote or co-wrote four of the album’s songs. The title track, a top 5 hit she penned solo, is a classic. She also solely composed “Sneakin’ In,” a steel-drenched ballad about her cheating husband. She also co-wrote two ballads – “Let Me Go, You’re Hurting Me” and “He’s Somewhere Between You and Me” with Lorene Allen and Doyle Wilburn respectively.

The remainder of the album consists mainly of ballads. “Living My Lifetime for You” is flavorless and Teddy Wilburn’s “Taking The Place of my Man” benefits from the helping of Steel. The cover of Marty Robbins’ “I Walk Alone” has beautiful touches of piano throughout and a powerful vocal from Lynn.

The album’s other top five hit, “You Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out on Me)” has beautiful jaunty guitars and ribbons of Steel. I love the touches of piano, too, dated as they may be to today’s ears. Lynn takes the bull by the horns on “Harper Valley, P.T.A.,” although I cannot help but find her signing it a bit odd. She copes brilliantly but hardly fits the image of the wife in the lyric. The final number, Kaw-Liga, is a wonderful yet also out-of-character cover of the Hank Williams classic.

Your Squaw is on the Warpath is neither here nor there for me. I don’t hate the album but I didn’t feel the magic I felt with Don’t Come Home. This isn’t a bad album in the least just not one that blew me away. I still recommend you listen to it and come to your own conclusions.

Grade: B

Classic Rewind: George Jones – ‘She Thinks I Still Care’

Album Review: Robbie Fulks – ‘Upland Stories’

upland storiesOne never knows quite what to expect from the eclectic singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks – or whether he is taking his own music entirely seriously. But in his 50s he seems to have found a new seriousness and an artistic maturity which cannot be ignored. His latest album is a collection of quietly poetic folk-country story songs which tells American stories in the way the great Tom T Hall did at the height of his career.

The opening ‘Alabama At Night’ sets the scene atmospherically. It is one of three songs inspired by James Agee’s 1941 book, ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, which documented the lives of three desperately poor sharecropping families in Alabama during the Great Depression; this one imagines Agee’s thoughts as he and his photographer first reached the area. The powerful ‘America Is A Hard Religion’ sounds like the gospel of that era, with a banjo-led accompaniment, although its lyric is a secular one, bewailing the tough life farming a “savage land”. ‘A Miracle’ is more subdued.

Other songs relate other stories of Southern life. The charming ‘Baby Rocked Her Dolly’ is an old man’s recollections of earlier life with his wife, raising their children, and is more universal in its theme.

‘Never Come Home’; Fulks’ vocals are a bit flat here but the song is interesting, a man facing the end of his marriage revisits his childhood home and finds no comfort:

I was welcomed like a guilty prisoner
Old grievances fouled the air
400 miles mean nothing
One man’s troubles are his own
The land is run down and ragged
I should have never come home

The protagonist of the wistful ‘Sarah Jane’ is also longing for home and the past. ‘South Bend Soldiers On’ and ‘Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals’ continue the theme of leaving home far behind.

The cheerfully observational ‘Aunt Peg’s New Old Man’ tells of family members meeting a widow’s new other half (who thinks Earl Scruggs’ banjo style far too new-fangled).

The gently paced and subtly narrated ‘Needed’ narrates an 18 year old’s first, intense, encounter with love, betrayed when he doesn’t stand by her when she gets pregnant. Grows up with fatherhood, cautionary tale for his tale#

When you’re really needed
You can rise to meet it
Or you can fall …

She longed to keep it
I said no I had my future to think of
In her darkest hour she learned
What young men won’t do for love

Needed
Something about “needed”
Pointed straight at my freedom like a loaded gun
Needed
When you’re really needed some rise to meet it
and some of us run

He eventually marries and grows up when he becomes a father and “better days began”, and offers his teenage son this cautionary tale, hoping

That you will steer past shallow freedoms
As you follow your own star

‘Sweet As Sweet Comes’ is a straightforward love song; ‘Katy Kay’ is a bit quirkier with its traditional jug band style and lyric about being attracted to crying girls.

The album’s main flaw is that Fulks’s diction is sometimes a bit unclear (and his voice isn’t the greatest to start with), and the lyrics aren’t always as clear as they deserve to be. But this is a serious, ambitious album with a real artistic vision. It won’t appeal to everyone, but it has a lot to offer.

Grade: A-

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Woman Of The World (Leave My World Alone)’

Single Review: Sara Watkins – ‘Move Me’

press-photo-3---maarten-deboer_wide-79824be5a7ea39f2c8e7c62723edf8d34ca632e9-s800-c85Ponder this: it’s been sixteen years since Sara Watkins first entered our consciousness with the gorgeously plucky “Reasons Why.” She was already an assured vocalist at nineteen, brilliantly playing off Chris Thile as the female nucleus of Nickel Creek. Her confidence grew with the band’s output so it was only natural she’s one day strike out on her own.

It’s been seven years since her eponymous debut, a somewhat cautious (but impeccably executed) affair that gave us her brilliant rendition of Tom Wait’s ‘Pony.’ Watkins positioned herself as an astonishing country artist, a notion she quickly dispelled with Sun Midnight Sun in 2012. Her synthesizer-drenched version of Dan Wilson’s “When It Pleases You” changed our perception of her artistry. Loud and brash, Watkins exuded a self-assurance that announced her arrival as a fully formed solo entity.

Our inaugural taste of her third album, Young In All The Wrong Ways builds on that confidence. “Move Me” is her primal scream for attention, an act of despair from a woman stuck in first gear trying frantically to break free of the gridlock mucking up her path. She refers to the project as a ‘break-up album’ with herself, a chance to ‘turn the page’ and reevaluate where she is in her life.

It’s obvious that “Move Me” is her anthem. ‘Every step’s been shown to you, like all those years of school’ she opens, behind an ear-catching stomp. It’s the life my generation leads, one I whole-heartedly relate to. We’re on this path towards graduation, and, then what? As millennials, it’s the most critical question we ask ourselves on a daily basis as weeks become months become years. ‘Adulting’ isn’t merely a cutesy excuse; it’s a true-to-life concept.

The sonic playground of ‘Move Me’ is an adventurous mix of loud and soft that borderlines thunderous as Watkins emotes her not-so-quiet desperation in the chorus. “Move Me” doesn’t purport to be a country song nor has Watkins ever declared herself a country singer. But this does fit squarely within the Americana realm, which is the cloth she and her Nickel Creek bandmates helped sow all those years ago.

I just I can’t excuse the fact the overall record is a loud one. Watkins tones it down a little on the verses, but she doesn’t give the song much, if any, breathing room at all. Although, she is attempting to musically illustrate suffocation and in that sense the production is spot on.

This incarnation of Watkins’ career, like all of them, is sure to be an interesting one. My musical tastes have grown significantly through the years, which aids in my ability to appreciate a song like ‘Move Me’ in a way I wouldn’t have as a young adult. I’m greatly looking forward to hearing what the rest of Young In All The Wrong Ways has in store.

Grade: B+

You also can preorder the album and hear the song at NPR

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Your Squaw Is On The Warpath’

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Fist City’

fist cityThe lead single of Loretta’s 1968 album Fist City, ‘What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)?’, a plaintive tune written by Loretta with Teddy Wilburn, was a top 5 single in 1967. It’s a nice song, but not one which is remembered today – perhaps because its subject matter now seems old fashioned, with the demure protagonist reproving her sweetheart for wanting to anticipate their wedding vows:

You want me to prove my love for you
I’m surprised that’s the way you’re askin’ me to
You’ve known me so long I can’t understand
What kind of a girl do you think I am?

What kind of a girl do you want for a wife?
Do you want a girl who knows that much about life?
Well, if that’s what you want
Take me out of your plan
What kind of a girl do you think I am?

What kind of a girl would do the things
You’re askin’ me to, without wedding rings
Is it what you must do to prove you’re a man?
What kind of a girl do you think I am?

It was also soon overshadowed by the title track, which became the record’s second single, and is one of Loretta’s classic self-penned hits. Positively aggressive in its takedown of a real life romantic rival who apparently had eyes for Loretta’s husband Doolittle, it typifies the sassy attitude and self-confidence which Loretta had previously exhibited on ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)’:

You’ve been makin’ your brags around town that you’ve been a lovin’ my man
But the man I love when he picks up trash, he puts it in a garbage can
And that’s what you look like to me and what I see’s a pity
You’d better close your face and stay out of my way
If you don’t wanta go to Fist City

If you don’t wanna go to Fist City you’d better detour round my town
Cause I’ll grab you by the hair of the head and I’ll lift you off of the ground
I’m not a sayin’ my baby’s a saint cause he ain’t
And that he won’t cat around with a kitty
I’m here to tell you gal to lay off of my man if you don’t wanna go to Fist City

Come on and tell me what you told my friends if you think you’re brave enough
And I’ll show you what a real woman is since you think you’re hot stuff
You’ll bite off more than you can chew if you get too cute or witty
You better move your feet if you don’t wanna eat a meal that’s called Fist City

Loretta’s vocal has an almost playful quality to it which belies the violence, and makes the song highly enjoyable.

‘I’m Shootin’ For Tomorrow’, another Lynn composition, is a vivacious mid-tempo number about writing off an old relationship:

Well I used to think you was the only man
But I’ve found out you’re not
So I’m a shootin’ for tomorrow
‘Cause today’s already shot
I used to keep the home fires burnin’
But I let ’em all go out

No song on this album is longer than three minutes; this one is under two minutes, as is ‘You Didn’t Like My Lovin’, written by Loretta with Teddy Wilburn and Joe “Red” Hayes. This one’s protagonist has happily moved on to someone new and sends her ex away with a flea in his ear. Loretta also covers Hayes’ country gospel classic a Satisfied Mind.

‘Somebody’s Back In Town’ was a hit for the Wilburn Brothers in 1959, although for some reason iTunes credits Loretta as their co-writer (I believe it was really Don Helms). This is an excellent song I know from Chris Hillman’s 1980s cover, and Loretta does the pained ballad justice with an emotional reading.

The best-known cover, Tammy Wynette’s recent #1 hit ‘I Don’t Wanna Play House’, is also sung very believably; if Loretta had got the song first I am sure she could have ahd a hit with it herself. Tammy and Norma Jean both had contemporary cuts of ‘Jackson Ain’t A Very Big Town’, a ballad about a newly wed in a small town where the dating pool is small and rumours fly.

Loretta’s brother Jay Lee Webb contributed ‘You Never Were Mine’, a nice resigned ballad about a breakup.

‘I’ve Got Texas In My Heart’ is a Western style tune which doesn’t really suit Loretta, and ‘How Long Will It Takes’ is s filler with dated backing vocals.

Overall, though, this is an excellent album from Loretta at her peak.

Grade: A

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Who Says God Is Dead?’

Week ending 4/23/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

rabbitt-eddie-51901909bda391956 (Sales): Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1956 (Jukebox): Blue Suede Shoes — Carl Perkins (Sun)

1956 (Disc Jockeys): Heartbreak Hotel — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1966: I Want To Go With You — Eddy Arnold (RCA)

1976: Drinkin’ My Baby (Off My Mind) — Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra)

1986: Cajun Moon — Ricky Skaggs (Epic)

1996: No News — Lonestar (BNA)

2006: What Hurts the Most — Rascal Flatts (Lyric Street)

2016: Humble and Kind — Tim McGraw (Big Machine)

2016 (Airplay): You Should Be Here — Cole Swindell (Warner Bros.)

Classic Rewind: Eddy Raven – ‘Who Do You Know In California’

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Fist City’

Album Review: ‘Here’s Loretta Lynn’

lorettaHere’s Loretta Lynn appeared in April 1968 on the Vocalion label, one of two budget labels Decca used at the time for either reissuing older material or releasing recordings acquired from buying out another label’s inventory of recordings for artists currently recording for Decca. In this case, the recordings came from the small Zero label. The songs were recorded in 1959 or 1960. It appears that Loretta recorded a dozen songs for Zero, but this album gathers up only ten of the songs, conspicuously omitting both sides of her one charting single for Zero, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” backed with “Whispering Sea”.

None of the songs on this album charted although Zero released both “New Rainbow” and “Darkest Day” as singles. Interestingly enough, rather than hedge their bets with covers, Zero allowed Loretta to record strictly her own compositions.

The album opens with “Blue Steel”, a ballad about being as blue as the sound that a steel guitar makes. This song shows an unmistakable Kitty Wells influence as do most of her vocals on the album.

The album is mostly slow and mid-tempo ballads the exceptions being track 5 & 9 (“Stop” and “My Life Story”) , which pick up the tempo, and track 6 (“Heartaches Meet Mr. Blues”) which has much more of an R&B feel to it with some B.B. King-like guitar licks.

The backing could be described as standard non-Nashville Sound country, meaning fiddle, steel guitar and lead guitar being the dominant sounds – no strings or vocal choruses, but also no real interplay between the instruments. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and at times the steel has a real Speedy West sound to it, although I doubt that Speedy was actually playing on this album.

My copy of the album is Vocalion VL-73853, supposedly a stereo recording but I did not notice much channel separation. The album has been reissued on several occasions, on other MCA labels. I think a monaural version of the Vocalion album also may exist but I doubt that it sounds much different than the stereo version.

    Track List

Blue Steel
My Love
Whispering Sea
New Rainbow
Stop
Heartaches Meet Mr. Blues
Darkest Day
My Angel Mother
My Life Story
Gonna Pack My Troubles

For first recordings this was an impressive effort by Loretta. I would like to have heard Loretta revisit some of these songs after her own style became more fully developed.

Grade: B to B+

Classic Rewind: Tom T. Hall and Johnny Rodriguez – ‘You Always Come Back To Hurting Me’

Retro Album Review: Steve Wariner – ‘Guitar Laboratory’

61b4xZQKEoLChet Atkins had many disciples, not the least of whom was Steve Wariner. Steve was a major country star and chart presence from 1980-1994 with scattered success both before and after his peak years.

Steve grew up listening to his father’s record collection which included some Merle Travis and everything Chet Atkins recorded. After tours with Dottie West and Bob Luman, Steve signed with RCA as a recording artist and became a friend and student of Chet Atkins. Steve has won many awards and honors but the award of which he is most proud was being awarded the Certified Guitar Player designation by Chet (the only others were Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Reed and John Knowles).

Guitar Laboratory is a sequel of sorts to his previous album, My Tribute To Chet Atkins, released in 2009 . This album is no stubborn copy or pastiche of Chet’s style but represents a tribute to the spirit of Chet Atkins, covering a wide range of styles and tempos. While I wouldn’t describe this album as a country album, it does contain some country (“Sugarfoot Rag”) as well as some jazz (“A Groove”), some rock (“Telekinesis”), some blues (“Crafty”), some folk/bluegrass (“Up A Red Hill”) and even some Hawai’ian (Waikiki ’79) On some songs such as “Crafty” and “Kentuckiana” Steve sounds very much like Chet; however , on other tracks, not quite so much.

Steve enlists several guest pickers on the album who acquit themselves admirably. Steve is joined on “Sugarfoot Rag” by legendary guitarist Leon Rhodes, a long-time Opry Band member and former member of Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. Paul Yandell, a long-time associate and musical colleague of Chet’s, joins in on “Pals” and Steve’s son Ryan Wariner shows his musical chops on the rocking “Sting Ray”. The review copy of the album did not include any notes so I am not sure of the identity of any background musicians such as the accordionist and violinist on “I Will Never Forget You (Je Ne T’oulbieri Jamais)” or the trumpeter on “Phyllis and Ramona”, but suffice it to say they are all excellent.

All songs on this album, except “Sugarfoot Rag” were written by Steve Wariner (“Sugarfoot Rag” of course was written by guitar legend Hank Garland). There’s something for everyone on this all instrumental collection, and while I generally prefer vocal albums, I’ve listened to this album five times through thus far, although I’ve played my two favorite tunes “Sugarfoot Rag” and “Up a Red Hill” far more often than that.

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)?’

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Singin’ With Feelin”

Loretta+Lynn+Singin+With+Feelin+506836Loretta’s 1967 output included three albums: Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind) released in February, a duet album with Ernest Tubb released in June, and a second solo collection, Singin’ With Feelin’, released in October. It consists of the Top 10 single “If You’re Not Gone Too Long”, three songs written or co-written by Loretta, and the usual remakes of other artists’ hits.

Written by Wanda Ballman, “If You’re Not Gone Too Long” is an upbeat honky-tonker in which Loretta bits adieu to a lover who is about to embark on a journey. She tells him that she will try to remain faithful to him while he’s away, but she isn’t making any promises. The single had been released the previous May and reached #7 on the Billboard country singles chart. Equally good is Loretta’s original number “Bargain Basement Dress” that opens the album. This is yet another round in the battle of the sexes, a theme she would revisit several times and one that would always serve her well. Once again she’s hopping mad when her drunken husband comes crawling in the wee hours of the morning. This time he’s at least had the foresight to come bearing a gift, but Loretta wants no part of the peace offering. The song is very much in the same vein as “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” which is likely why Decca chose not to release it as a single so soon after that mega-hit. “Slowly Killing Me”, another Loretta original, finds her coming to terms with her husband’s philandering but in a less confrontational manner than we’ve come to expect from her. “I’ll Sure Come a Long Way Down”, which she co-wrote with Maggie Vaughan, finds her Loretta in a similar situation that Tammy Wynette faced in “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”. Had it not been for the similarities to Tammy’s song, which was released earlier the same year, this might have been a good single for Loretta.

As stated earlier, the album contains a number of remakes that had been hits for others. “Dark Moon” had been a huge crossover hit for country singer Bonnie Guitar in 1957. It was also covered by actress and pop singer Gale Storm that same year. Although Loretta sings it well, it doesn’t seem to be quite the right kind of song for her and it’s one of my least favorites on the album. She does much better with “Secret Love”, a 1953 hit for Doris Day, which Loretta also remade for her current album Full Circle. Also included are very nice versions of George Jones’ “Walk Through This World With Me” and Wynn Stewart’s “It’s Such A Pretty World Today”. Loretta’s managers Teddy and Doyle Wilburn are also represented: Teddy wrote “Wanted Woman”, a somewhat plodding ballad about a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who ends up killing the object of her unrequited love, and Doyle wrote the filler track “A Place To Hide and Cry” that closes the album. Also falling into the filler category is “What Now”, which is not particularly memorable but noteworthy because it was co-written by a very young Becky Hobbs.

Overall, Singin’ With Feelin’ is a very good but not great album that doesn’t quite reach the high marks set by Blue Kentucky Girl and Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind). It is out of print but completists can find used vinyl copies online.

Grade: B+

Classic Rewind: Stonewall Jackson – ‘Smoke Along The Track’

Album Review: Kristy Cox – ‘Part Of Me’

part of meI loved Australian bluegrass singer Kristy Cox’s previous album, so I was keen to hear her latest work, produced, like its predecessor, by songwriter Jerry Salley. She is in great form vocally; last time around I felt she was better on the ballads than the up-tempo material, but now she sparkles on the faster songs too, and is reminiscent at times of Rhonda Vincent.

‘Another Weary Mile’ opens the album briskly in typical bluegrass style. Written by Michael Rogers, Joshua D Trivett, and Jason Barie, it is one of only two completely outside song, with the remainder coming from the pens of Salley and/or Cox. A vibrant vocal brings the tale of life on the road and the lure of home alive.

Kristy co-wrote four songs. Allen Caswell helped her with ‘William Henry Johnson’, a mournful murder ballad about ‘a hero and a villain’ who breaks the protagonist’s heart and ends up dead as a result. Caswell collaborated with Kristy and Jerry Salley on ‘You Walked In’, an upbeat song about the joy of new-found love. Equally sweet is ‘Young Love Never Gets Old’, a romantic tale of a lifelong love story against all the odds, written by Kristy and Jerry. Kristy and Jerry wrote one more song, the pacy but regretful ‘I’m No Stranger To This Lonesome Road’.

‘The Part Of Me (That’s Still In Love With You)’ is a wistful ballad about the emotional power of a memory overshadowing a current relationship, which Salley wrote with Pam Tillis, with a lovely melody.

‘Little White Whiskey Lies’, written by Salley with Tammy Rogers, picks up the tempo with a bluesy edge. ‘Baby, You Ain’t Baby Anymore’ is a bluegrass burner, written by Salley with Jenee Fleenor, which has Kristy bemoaning a faltering relationship. The brisk ‘Your Train Don’t Stop Here anymore’, written with Dani Flowers, is also solid, while the set closes with an optimistic gospel tune penned by Salley with Sally Barris, ‘That’s Where The Faith Comes In’.

Finally, there is a lovely cover of Chris Stapleton’s moving ‘Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore’. Kristy’s vocal style is about as different from Stapleton’s rough hewn soul as one can imagine, and her version adds sweetness and a gentle regret. Beautiful.

The sparkling playing and immaculate arrangements make the perfect backdrop for Kristy’s clear, pure voice. This is an excellent album which I recommend strongly.

Grade: A

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