Country Music People March 2019 - Page 47

HEATHER AITKEN Long Story Short CLAY WALKER Long Live The Cowboy  1/2  Albertine / All Talk / Bury Him Down / Prairie Boys / Half Of The Way / Sideways Falling / We Live In A Trailer / Past This Blue / Wild Women / One More Time / Black Dirt Producer: not listed Church Records 29:37 Long Live The Cowboy / She Gets What She Wants / Thinking Out Loud / Rock The Radio / Right Now / Little Miss Whiskey / Workin’ On Me / Makes Me Want To Stay / Napkin / Change / Love Is Like The Rain Producer: not listed Maven Records 40:27 Here is a talented country singer with a very low profile. She has no internet site or social media presence. She appears to be from Saskatoon, Canada, probably writes her own songs and has a mystery producer. However, the music is very entertaining and most of it is aimed at fans of real country music. First song, Albertine, provides a strong start. Heather Aitken has a voice perfect for singing traditional country. Albertine features an acoustic guitar and fiddle. It has an interesting melody and a sad feel. All Talk is a chunky upbeat country number, though the “all talk and, no action” lyric is repeated far too many times. A fair bit of Heather Aitken’s album is ‘proper’ country. Songs like Half Of The Way and Sideways Falling wouldn’t be out of place on a Dale Watson album. We also get a hot country duet, One More Time, and the quality murder ballad Bury Him Down. Heather Aitken’s album ends with one of its best tracks. Black Dirt is a sad-eyed song about the passing of winter. It has a lonely feel, a fantastic vocal, and a steel guitar moaning away. What a song! Heather Aitken is a kind of mystery woman, an enigma-maybe. With no internet site or social media presence maybe she just wants peace and quiet. However, Long Story Short is a well-put-together collection of superior country songs from a woman with a fine country voice. Maybe one day the singer will emerge from the shadows. If she carries on making albums as strong as Long Story Short interest in her music will only increase. It seems likely that Heather Aitken’s album is a debut-or not? Whatever it is, it’s a wonderful treat for the more traditional country fan. Lets hope we hear more from Heather Aitken soon. Paul Riley I always rather liked Clay Walker. I always thought of him as a poppier George Strait and he sure charted some great songs. His debut, What’s It To You, hit the top spot and Who Needs You Baby; Live Laugh, Love; and Only On Days That End In “Y” all stand as perfect examples of LEELEE ROBERT Swing Set  Finger Lickin’ Music / Choo Choo Ch’boogie / Maple Syrup Sunrise (Where the Rio Del Norte Flows) / Cowboy Swing / Blue Bonnet Breeze / Arizona / Enjoy the Ride / Big Hair / Let Me Be the One / Star Spangled Sweetheart (Kristyn’s Song) / Cowgirl Jazz / Man Walks Among Us Producer: not listed Musikode 46:40 truly wonderful, commercial 90s country. I must admit I was quite excited at the prospect of a new Clay Walker album, at least until I heard it. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking and I’m not sure why a man approaching his half century is trying to win over today’s mainstream country crowd, but this is pretty terrible. He covers Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud without making it his own, without adding anything, and without making it any more country than it ever was. But having said that, it and ballads Workin’ On Me and Change are alright but far from outstanding. Clay Walker is seemingly under the impression that he can still rock the radio. The song with that title is about as generic as they come but would be much better suited to one of today’s young guns. Little Miss Whiskey is absolutely horrible. As is the opening title track Long Live The Cowboy. When I saw the title of the album I had hoped it would be the same song Mo Bandy cut just a few years ago rather than this godawful mess. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with this overall. If you really must, just download the two or three decent tracks from iTunes and leave it at that because the rest of it is best forgotten in my opinion. Duncan Warwick Leelee Robert has developed what she calls her “Cowgirl Jazz” style over a number of years and her latest, her ninth, was nominated for Best Western Swing Album at this year’s Academy of Western Artists Awards before it was even released. Robert is apparently no slouch on the guitar and her appreciation of jazz frequently shows throughout. What lifts this above many other Western Swing albums for me is not terrific original songs, and it’s not the guitar work, but the fiddle player. Recorded in Nashville, I don’t have the musician credits but whoever it is adds a fantastic gypsy jazz feel throughout the album. Maybe on the jazzier side of Western Swing, Robert has a slightly gruff vocal style that I really like and Arizona reminded me of the Alessi Brothers I’m not sure that the slower numbers like the closing track work so well, and I could’ve done without Choo Choo Ch’boogie again but apart from that it’s about perfect. Get the back catalogue as well. Duncan Warwick MARCH 2019 - cmp 47