Country Music People December 2017 - Page 48

albumreviews FELLER & HILL Brothers And Heroes  1/2 Hammer Down / Childish Love / Atlanta Is Burning / Rebecca Of New Orleans / The Bugler / Back In Baby’s Arms / Love Is A Stranger / Wake Up Little Susie / Lord Help Me Decide / Duncan And Brady / Be A Good Girl / Jerry’s Breakdown / Tennessee Hound Dog Producer: not listed Rural Rhythm 42:13 If you’re making an album, you have around 40 minutes and 12 tracks to play with and if you’re having a theme, you have to maintain it throughout as otherwise it looks a mess. That’s simple and obvious advice but clearly no one has offered it to Feller and Hill. This CD is partly a tribute to brother acts, partly a tribute to favourite performers and partly a suite of civil war songs. All three themes are perfectly valid but to have all three on the same CD is senseless. To release the civil war song, The Bugler, which has two very distinct tempos, as the first single from the album is even crazier. Feller and Hill are fine performers with a fine band, the Bluegrass Buckaroos, but they desperately need good PR advice. Tom Feller and Chris Hill had impressive individual careers in bluegrass before they came together in 2010 and formed 48 cmp - DECEMBER 2017 the Bluegrass Buckaroos. This is their fourth album in seven years and they have done well with the singles, Big Blue Roses and Government Blues. Their favourite band is the Boys From Indiana, and they both have uncles in that line-up. Indeed, the civil war songs come from two members of the Boys From Indiana, Tom and Aubrey Holt. They are good songs but surely this is part of a larger project. The album opens with Hammer Down, a fun-packed, fast-paced song about being on the road from the bluegrass musician, Gerald Evans, who died from a cancer a few years back. It is followed by the Louvin Brothers’ plaintive Childish Love and then the civil war song, Atlanta Is Burning: all three are fine tracks but the album has lost its mojo. Having said that, there is much to enjoy here: for example, a spirited revival of the Everly Brothers’ Wake Up Little Susie, written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant who also wrote Tennessee Hound Dog, which was recorded by the Osborne Brothers. Bobby Osborne helps them out on the new recording and at the end of the take, he asks why they picked such a crazy song from their repertoire. Junior Sisk is on hand for their quick-paced revival of the much- recorded folk song, Duncan And Brady. Bill Harrell wrote Love Is A Stranger and recorded it with the Virginia Mountaineers in 1959. It’s good to hear Feller and Hill’s revival and the song has nothing to do with Eurythmics’ 1983 hit with the same title. There is fast country picking for the Jerry Reed composition, Jerry’s Breakdown. This CD contains some very good music and playing. I just wish they had spent more time at the planning stage. Spencer Leigh TERRY ROBBINS Love Front  1/2 Love Front / Break My Heart / Jambalaya / Life Without You / Got A Love For You / Mind On My Honey / Through My Teardrops / Thank You Note / Deer In The Headlights / Legends / Barbecue Buzz / Flyin’ Off The Handle Producer: Terry Robbins & Bryan Carter Self Release 42:28 I have been a Terry Robbins fan since the first time I heard his 2015 album Long Live The Fiddle & Steel, and not just for the amusing tracks such as Scratchin’ Feels Good or I Love You More Than I Love Bacon. The key to the appeal is, I think, is the simplicity; there are no complicated arrangements, no pretence to be anything other than plain, solid, traditional songs about ordinary things which are driven along by plenty of fiddle and steel. Having said that, this album didn’t exactly blow my mind; there are still examples of clever wordplay in the lyrics and the down home subject matter still appeals but overall it was “Mmm” rather than “Wow”. I enjoyed the almost Quo-esque treatment of Jambalaya and I can see Deer In The Headlights and Flyin’ Off The Handle both picking up airplay on the more discerning country radio stations. The idea behind Legends is exactly what you would expect and contains a very interesting line stating Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith was the artist’s grandfather which does lift it above the mass of ‘name drop’ lyrical efforts always in circulation. I have searched without success for a Terry Robbins website, Facebook page or Twitter account and none of the YouTube clips I found were of a live performance, which leads me to wonder whether he actually does any. All his albums so far have been self releases and I cannot help thinking Robbins might be using the cash generated by each album to fund the next – which is fine if the standard of the material holds up. Once it fails to, and I am not suggesting it has done anything other than dip a little here, it could signal a fairly rapid demise for the golden goose. Chris Smith new releases CD s KELSEA BALLERINI Unapologetically – Sony Music TUCKER BEATHARD Dear Someone – Big Machine DALE WATSON Blackjack – Red River JOSH HARTY Holding On – Continental Song City WALKER HAYES Boom – Monument MALLARY HOPE Mallary Hope – Curb TIM MCGRAW & FAITH HILL The Rest Of Our Life – Sony Music DANIELLE BRADBERY I Don’t Believe We’ve Met – Big Machine LUKE BRYAN What Makes You Country – Capitol KID ROCK Sweet Southern Sugar – Broken Bow CHRIS STAPLETON From A Room: Volume 2 – Mercury COLE SWINDELL Down Home Sessions EP (#4) – Warner Bros THE WAILIN’ JENNYS Fifteen – Red House