Country Music People December 2018 - Page 39

THE WESTERN SWING AUTHORITY Big Deal  Mississippi / Dance With Who Brung Ya / Extraordinary / In The Middle Of The Song / Big Ball’s In Cowtown / Big Deal / After The Leavin’ / Swingin’ From The Rafters / My Window Faces The South / This Old Bar Producers: Jason Barry & WSA Self release 33:26 You may want to keep this album somewhere safe because should you ever need to put together a list of people to invite to a music themed party the guest artists on it would be an excellent place to start. From just ten tracks you would have multiple CCMA, Juno, Grammy and ACM nominees and of course winners; you would also, in Carolyn Martin and Buddy Spicher, have a couple of Hall of Famers around your table. That this array of talent is keen to record with The Western Swing Authority shows the high regard in which this Canadian septet is held. The album is a delightful mix of popular Western Swing classics – notably My Window Faces The South and Big Balls In Cowtown – and new songs written, in part anyway, by members of WSA; and those new songs are every bit as good as the old tunes. I also liked the way the production has included snatches of conversation not only as a way of introducing songs and guests but they also incorporate the “tell me about that”, “play one for me” lines which punctuated those old recordings by the likes of Bob Wills and others of that era. Written here that may sound corny, but trust me through your speakers it sounds great. The album opens with Grammy nominated Jane Monheit sharing vocals with Stacey Lee Guse on Mississippi which pays homage to the City of Memphis where, by amazing coincidence, both Stacey and WSA are hoping to win Ameripolitan Awards next February. Ray Benson chimes in with vocals and guitar on his own composition Dance With Who Brung Ya and the quality never drops right through to the poignant This Old Bar. I loved the comedy in Extraordinary with multi CCM Award winner Jason McCoy; the lyrics reminded me of the Sparks track Talent Is An Asset from the album Kimono My House. I also enjoyed the little clip using the telephone recorded message which ends up with 1-800–PLAY–WSA; it is, in my view, these little touches which if they are done well make an album like this very special. Make no mistake, this is a very special album because it is able to appeal to country music fans who may not be familiar with the Western Swing genre but also contains twists and arrangements to seriously impress those who are. Chris Smith DECEMBER 2018 - cmp 39