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country of my birth, before the border lines.’ Launched by a snapshot of the past, Ebb And Flow segues to the present day as Grace pursues the ‘All the taillights, setting out, and the headlights, coming home’ life of a touring musician. The up-tempo, soulful closer Don’t You Worry None doubles as a wonderfully positive antidote to the foregoing pairing, and to the emotionally intense fabric of TWO BIRDS. Arthur Wood www.gracepettis.com


Jerry Douglas TRAVELER Proper HHHH A master musician at work … The Dobro and


Jerry Douglas are two words that just go together. You would have trouble finding a better player. I first came across him in the early 1980s when he played with the Whites. Most know him from his work with Alison Krauss & Union Station, or the acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions TV series. For years he was an A-team session musician, appearing on more than 2000 recordings with everyone from Gail Davies to Paul Simon, Garth Brooks to Ray Charles and Emmylou Harris to the Chieftains. In more recent years, when not working with Krauss, he leads his own band and every once in a while releases an album under his own name. This latest one shows that Douglas can play much more than just Dobro riffs with the best of them. Several celebrity guests grace this eclectic affair including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Munford & Sons, Marc Cohn, Keb’ Mo’ and inevitably Alison Krauss & Union Station. Douglas plays many styles on this


set, ranging from bluegrass to acoustic country to jazz and in between. He even offers a rare lead vocal on the opening On A Monday, taking the old Leadbelly tune out for a bluesy outing. He delves even deeper into blues territory with Something You Got, with a great vocal workout by Eric Clapton. Then comes a lighter touch with Paul Simon’s The Boxer, with Mumford & Sons joining Simon and Douglas providing some quite inspired Dobro playing to put his own stamp on the well-known tune. The guests just keep popping up with Keb’ Mo’ adding a lazy, drawling vocal to High Blood Pressure, then comes Marc Cohn Right On Time, a laid-back ballad, a nicely textured masterpiece with some beautiful,


86 Maverick


dreamy Dobro and nice interaction with the studio band. So Here We Are is a tune that really rocks,


with a great sounding melody, Viktor Krauss on bass underpins it solidly and Douglas plays some aggressive guitar. Gone To Fortingall is sweet with a Celtic vibe, Douglas and his Dobro work is quite exquisite, whilst King Silkie is a more traditional bluegrass tune with great banjo by Bela Fleck and driving fiddle. Douglas fully exploits the Dobro’s resonant guitar sound, his aggressive touch, incredibly fast finger picking and deft use of the steel bar giving the instrument a bright, cutting tone-quality. Whether you’re talking about blues, bluegrass, country or any type of acoustic music, when it comes to the Dobro there’s no one more accomplished or technically masterful than Jerry Douglas. There is no box to put this super eclectic, blue-grassy, bluesy, jazzy, southern jam band material into. Might not be for you, but I give it a big thumbs up, Douglas really goes out on a limb to make something that is musical art. Alan Cackett


www.jerrydouglas.com


Jessica Ridley FIT TO BE TIED Crystal Teardrop Productions HHHH Promising collection of country-pop fused songs from the dreamy-eyed, fresh-faced Canadian For Jessica Ridley—a green-eyed,


dreaming songstress from Calgary, Alberta in western Canada—being a country singer was all she’d ever wanted to do, showing real potential from a very early age. But it was a chance meeting with her now manger/producer, Don Somerville whilst singing at the local church in her hometown that really set the wheels in motion, making her lifelong dream eventually become a reality. The success of her childhood fantasy comes in the form of her already acclaimed 13-track debut, FIT TO BE TIED—a delightful country-pop fused record of pleasant co-writes (Because I’m Not, Home To Me) and potential hits (Play With You, Rain). Guitar-driven toe-tapper and title track


Fit To Be Tied kicks off proceedings, with an energetic hook about being tied-up in love. Hit And Run follows on deliciously in


a memorable, Sara Evan-styled fashion, whilst chorusly-driven Flaming Red—the first single taken from the album, about taking time out for herself—provides a thorough gem. The album also really accentuates her vocal talents, no more so than on the beautifully sung love ballad, Velvet Sky; Jessica delivering with utter, emotive bliss. Make It Alright too really stands out as a vocal gem; its catchy and infectious chorus lush with harmonies. The piano-led heartbreaker Undone closes the album with languid, simplistic effortless. Jessica has bags full of potential and is


not only one to watch, but is certainly a country artist well on her way up to join the likes of Taylor Swift, Jessica Andrews and Sara Evans near the top. Every track on the record could easily be the next hit for Jessica, and I for one can’t wait to hear more material from her in the future. Emily Saxton


www.jessicaridley.com


Kasey Chambers STORYBOOK Sugar Hill Records HHHHI Super covers album Even though


Australian singer Kasey Chambers is a fine songwriter in her own right, for her latest album release she has decided to do all covers and I have to say, what a terrific job she’s done. I’ve listened to and reviewed many covers albums by various artists and there have been many a disappointing one where the artist just doesn’t do justice to the class of songs chosen. In Kasey’s case, she’s nailed most of them; possibly helped by the fact that she has got such an incredible voice, never failing to send goose bumps down my spine on ballads and sad songs. The album opens with the bouncy Happy Woman Blues (Lucinda Williams) with its infectious beat, pedal steel solo and fun, lively vocals. Her voice is just wonderful on the Gram Parsons classic Return Of The Grievous Angel. It was almost as if this song was written for her type of voice. Two more songs that just seem so right


for her amazing voice are Suzanne Vega’s Luka and a fantastic version of True Colours, which was a hit for Cyndi Lauper. The emotion and power of her vocals on the former is just mind-blowing; the latter done so gorgeously. Steve Earle’s Nothing But A


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