Country Music People March 2019 - Page 34

albumreviews KERRY’S GOLD COUNTRY FRIDAYS 8PM | TUESDAYS 4PM | KEEP IT COUNTRY TV | SKY 376 | FREESAT 516 | FREEVIEW 87 JOIN ARMAGH SONGBIRD, KERRY FEARON, AS SHE SHOWCASES HER CHOICE OF AMERICANA, HONKY TONK, TRADITIONAL COUNTRY AND MORE. PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS. CAROLINE SPENCE Mint Condition  What You Don’t Know / Angels Or Los Angeles / Song About A City / Sometimes A Woman Is An Island / Who’s Gonna Make My Mistakes / Sit Here And Love Me / Long Haul / Wait On The Wine / Who Are You / Til You Find One / Mint Condition Producer: Don Knobler Rounder 42:38 After five or six years of releasing her own EPs and albums, Caroline Spence has a contract with Rounder Records, an established label associated with quality in both folk and country. She has been endorsed by Emmylou Harris who adds harmonies to the title track, and as some song titles were intriguing, I was looking forward to hearing this album. I had not come across her before although I know she has played UK dates. Overall, I was disappointed. I appreciate that songs like Who Are You and Til You Find One are meant to be disillusioned and world-weary but if you’re not careful, world-weary is just another word for dreary. If we take the songs at face value, then Sit Here And Love Me shows that Caroline Spence has to cope with depression, but why make this public property? In one song she says, “I’m looking for answers, something to put in a song”, but should you be resolving your problems by wanting to tell others about them? By the time I got to the end of the album, I felt I had been playing it for two hours. But there is promise here and some strong moments. The sunshine pop of the opening track, What You Don’t Know, will remind you of the Bangles but what you don’t know is that the rest of the album isn’t like this. A Woman Is An Island has an arrangement akin to Ennio Morricone and you can imagine it playing as someone is driving across the plains. Spence writes clumsy lyrics that would benefit from being tightened and shorter. Mint Condition is a strong idea for a song but it is so clunky: “This life that we see ain’t no apparition, We keep our love in mint condition.” Spencer Leigh 34 cmp - MARCH 2019 PETER ROGAN Still Tryin’ To Believe  Still Tryin’ To Believe / The Only One / Kickin’ The Can / River Man / The Rolling Mill Blues / Mercy / The Start Of Something Easy / Sweet Baby Blues / Beautiful Honey / Big Green Rambler / Song For Keith/ Reprise Producer: Peter Rogan Melt Shop Records 53:18 Peter Rogan is a 57 year old who has been a two time finalist and one time winner of the Great American Song Contest. This lifetime dream debut album was recorded in Nashville, Pennsylvania and Baltimore with a supporting cast of seventeen backing musicians and backing singers and took around eighteen months to complete; during which time Rogan continued to work full time as an electrician in a steel mill. He wrote, or co-wrote, all eleven tracks and produced the album himself, which I think may have been a bad idea. I spent some time trying to think how to justify that view of the production and eventually decided the best description is to say that if you have ever told a thirteen year old boy yes it’s fine to go and help himself from an expansive dessert buffet then you will have a good idea of what has happened here. Regular readers will know I am a huge fan of getting value for money from a full priced album but seriously at over fifty three minutes of screaming guitar solos, Gospel choirs, organ fills and repetition of lyrics, I have to say less would have been so much more. The media sheet which came with this describes it as “modern American, vintage rock and blues” but these are people being paid to make it sound appealing. They say it took eighteen months to make this; and I have to say listening to it from start to finish seemed almost as long. Chris Smith