My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Gary Leach

Album Review: Crystal Sands – ‘The Hard Times’

crystalsands2Crystal Sands’ debut album last year was one of my favorite recent discoveries. The young Baltimore-born singer has a charming voice and her first album, produced by Wood Newton, consisted of a fine set of songs, and was thoroughly country to boot.

Her follow-up (on the same Texas indie label Ah-Ha Music Group) is not quite as good. New producers Gary Leach and Greg Hunt show a slightly heavier hand, and whereas Crystal co-wrote a few songs last time with veteran songwriter Newton, and the remainder of the material came from external sources including some well-chosen covers and more of Newton’s songs, here the focus is on Crystal as singer-songwriter. Her writing is decent, but not yet outstanding.

The best song is the genuinely affecting ‘He Never Held Me’, a bitter take on a childhood blighted by a father’s alcoholism:

I grew up scared to death of that man
He never knew me…

He missed my first steps
He missed my first words too
He never did what real daddies do
He held that bottle, but he never held me

How could someone live life so selfishly?
You can’t change the past
And you can’t erase the memories
Daddy’s little girl I guess I’ll never be
He held that bottle, he never held me

The tone intensifies as she addresses her father directly:

This wall between us is too hard to break
And don’t say youre sorry now, cause it’s too late
‘Cause you held that bottle when you coulda held me
When I needed you you needed whiskey
And I tried to forgive you but the past won’t let me
Your little girl I never was, and I’ll never be,
You held that bottle, you never held me

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