I have had this one for a little while and after a frenzy of Australian country music in the last few months to review, I haven’t had a chance to review it. I have reviewed Buck’s music before, but I will recall the story for you briefly, so that you get the idea when I am reviewing this album.
Buck was one of my first friends on Facebook, quite a while ago now. We had some pretty interesting conversations about country music and where it was heading. He is now only 27, but he was very young when we started chatting. Buck follows the old traditions of country music and he loves the Georges, Merle, Alan, Keith W and all of that ilk. It is pretty obvious that he does when it comes to his music.
It is good to know that in an American Country Music scene that relies heavily on a new style of country music that there are guys like Buck around to carry on the traditional flavour.
He does a few covers but mainly he sings his own songs which are in the old style.
The tempo is mixed, from good old heartbreaking ballads to something that you can do a toe tapping dance to or good driving music.
He has supported a lot of the greats but he can stand alone as a fine young talent. Enjoy some spins of this album. If you treasure the old style in a new package, then you will be happy with Buck. He is a rare gem.
Buck is just a good ol’ boy in a good young boy cowboy hat. Buck will never be “pop”.
Apparently Not: A rousing start to the album. Apparently yes to a good beginning!
Wild as can be: One of my favourite songs on the album, a slower number and John Michael Montgomery tinged kind of song.
Out Baling Hay: This song would go down well in rural Australia too. Just substitute the word in selected places. I am sure that a lot of our farmers could relate to this. Great song.
Her High Heels (My Cowboy Boots): Sort of a country music mellow version of Uptown Girl! Some great guitar in this. Very George Strait influenced. He even gets a few mentions. (There’s nothing wrong with that).
Rodeo to Rodeo (With Bailey Rose) – Carries on the theme….like a sequel to the last one. This one is just a tad more up tempo. Rodeo (Drive) to Rodeo.
Cowgirl: A good old broken hearted tear jerker. You have to have one of these on a country album.
Where I Wanna Be – Simple things and nostalgia. Remembering special moments.
Old girlfriends: You can’t get much more country than this. A tongue firmly planted in cheek song, me thinks.
I Just Want My Baby Back: This one is kind of the reverse of the last one.
Fool Hearted Memory: A well known song and nicely delivered by Buck.
Play me a country song: I find that most of Buck’s songs are either subtle or not so subtle dedications to his idols. You can dance to this one.
Buck Ford works constantly. He has a few other non-muso jobs, but this is obviously his passion. He is not what you would call a headliner, but for the sake of us country music fans, he should be. Buck has youth on his side and that will do him in good stead as the music world goes full circle again and wakes up to the need for this kind of music to be still on our radios.
Come on down, Buck. We will welcome you with open arms down under.
If you are one for statistics, Alison Krauss has won 27 grammy awards – the most by a female and I dare say that she is up there with the highest of all time. If you judge an artist by the longevity of their career, then the 45 year old has been around since the 80’s. If you judge an artist by the quality of her band, then her Union Station team have been around for years and they are probably one of the best known “backing bands” in the business. Some of them appear on this album, but it is essentially a solo effort, her first for 17 years. If you judge an artist on their ability to overcome the odds, and come back with a voice that is even better than it once was, then she gets a tick there, too. Alison had a disease that stopped her from singing completely. If you judge an artist on the quality of people that she attracts to help produce and record an album then she ticks that box too. The songs on the album are country classics and there are a few surprises. If you judge an artist on how they evolve and their willingness to test the waters, then there is another box ticked. Some of Alison’s fans may be a bit hesitant, but don’t be. One reviewer said that her new label has put her on the cover with big hair and a little black dress…..hinting that Cap. Records are trying to shift her a bit from her Bluegrass/Union Station self to a more crossover role. Nope. If you really listen to this album, there is nothing poppy about it but it is more pure country music than bluegrass or folk.
In the end, it is best not to judge at all. The music is great, Alison’s voice is never better and if you prefer more fiddle to violin, then Alison has plenty of that in her back catalogue. I remember once Vince Gill not being able to find the words to describe Alison. In the end he just introduced her by name, shrugged his shoulders and smiled. Wise man.
This review is of the Deluxe version, which has several of the songs recorded LIVE as well as the studio recordings, is produced by Grammy award winning Buddy Cannon.
The tracks are well known, but some more than others, and they aren’t the ones that people normally pick when doing a covers album.
Losing You – Personally, this is my favourite on the album. One of two songs on the album made famous by Brenda Lee. An interesting one to open with, as it is a mellow track, but absolutely beautiful.
It’s Goodbye and So Long to You – This is very much the old Texas Swing type of song, by the Osborne Brothers. I am surprised that this is not the opening track. Maybe because Losing You sets the album’s scene more than this more uptempo song.
Windy City – Appropriate song and title for the album as Alison was born and bred in Illinois.
I Never Cared For You – The harmonising that we expect from Alison, but a new latino twist. Get out your maracas. A little bit different to the Willie Nelson version!
River In The Rain – From the Roger Miller scored musical, “Big River – The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn”. A wistful, gentle version with a lullaby feel.
Dream of Me – Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer wrote this song, and it is the kind of country song that Aussie Bluegrass singer, Kristy Cox would probably attempt and do it the same way as Alison. Wouldn’t that be a great duet! One of my favourites on the album.
Gentle On My Mind – perhaps one of the better known tracks on the album, with the best remembered version by Glen Campbell. Alison sings it with great respect and it is sweeter than sugar cane.
All Alone Am I – This is the other song made popular by Brenda Lee – both of these tracks are listed as the favourites on here by many reviewers, so far, and I can’t argue too much about that.
Poison Love – A Bill Monroe B side that I wasn’t familiar with – one of the more up tempo songs on the album. It reminds me a bit of that old song “My neverending love for you….”
You Don’t Know Me – They keep comparing Alison’s version to Ray Charles’ version, noting how different it is. I always think of it as an Elvis song, and Alison sings it in a very similar fashion to how Elvis did…..right down to the arrangement. Perfect.
Make the World Go Away with Jamey Johnson – Probably one of the best loved country songs of all time and Alison and Jamey do a fine job of it.
Till I gain control Again – This song reminds me of “Til I can make it on my own” – I would say that it would have to be a close relative.
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground – Without the Willie Nelson riff but Allison soars like an angel in this song.
Bonus versions on Deluxe copy:
Windy City (Live at the Franklin Theatre)
River in the Rain (Live At The Franklin Theatre)
Losing You (Live At The Franklin Theatre)
I Never Cared For You (Live At The Franklin Theatre)
Where Alison did best here was pick tunes that people may find familiar but not too familiar. They aren’t songs that have been done to death or songs that haven’t been recorded for a while, with the exception of Gentle on My Mind which is one of those songs that sounds good whoever sings it.
Alison may be changing paths a bit, but she will never go so far that she forgets her roots and I don’t think that she will go punk or heavy metal on us. Her voice is enough alone to send this album up the charts and to a few red carpets. The slick production and the polished musicianship will take her across the line.
It would have been sad to lose Alison to music like we have lost Linda…I am glad that she can sing again….sing? She makes the Angels jealous.
And like Vince Gill tried to explain….oh well, I am just going to shrug my shoulders and smile.
Hosted and organized by Cameron Syrett, who worked at 2WS with Grant many moons ago, this wonderful evening tinged with a little sadness, lots of humour, warm and fuzzy feelings, good mates and some of the best country music that Australia has to offer was damn fine medicine.
The evening opened with Johanna and George singing a song that George wrote for the occasion, for Grant. Jo went on to sing several songs, including a better than Carrie Underwood could do it song that was an absolute knockout.
Amber Lawrence knocked them dead in another one of her infamous playsuits, nearly knocked the equipment over and definitely bowled Pete over. Of course, her music and the fact that she is Amber Lawrence was more than enough to keep us entertained and happy.
Drew McAlister (I think that he might be a bit popular) was terrific with a mixture of country rock and a couple of sweet ballads. One of the best songwriters in the country, he just gets better. He cancelled a gig to be there, which just shows the measure of the man.
Seleen McAlister also cancelled a gig to be there, flew from Brisbane and just received her clothes in the nick of time. She never disappoints, and after a year that was full of close shaves and outstanding success, she delivered a great mix of songs and smiles.
Sir Allan Caswell provided a few laughs and some classic Caswell lines and songs after a multi-record breaking year for the Godfather of Australian Country Music.
Adam Harvey was the last to appear after Grant said a few words and Cameron presented him with the award of appreciation from ICMA.
What can I say about Mr Harvey? He mixes humour with pathos like nobody else and his voice is just amazing. Always a great entertainer and on this night, he just continued that tradition.
With James Stewart Keene manning the merch desk and a few stars in the crowd, as well as the core of Sydney’s country music fans, we had our night rounded off by a great finale, Georgie Fame’s Lean on Me, with Harvey going so deep that we had to get a lift to bring him back on stage.
An awesome band with Pete, Mal and Lord Simon Johnson who backed all of the stars did a great job.
The night honoured Grant and all that he has done to help country music in Australia. There will be tough times ahead, but Grant’s wonderful family, his fans and the Country Music Family will be standing right beside him to help him through.
Thank you to all who attended, who had anything to do with organizing and presenting the concert and hopefully, we have raised a good deal of money and awareness.
Thanks to Neil for the beautiful pictures.
On a personal note, thanks Grant for being you. I even let your Manly boys beat my Roosters yesterday. As a fellow Tamworthian (we even went the same High School – I am a couple of years younger….), we are very proud of what you have achieved, how hard you have worked and all that you have done to fly the flag for Country Music. I first met Grant when I was 19 and I attended the Future School of Radio at North Sydney. I am now 54 and I have finally got myself a guest spot on community radio, but it was more than that. He took the time to share his knowledge and his skills with us and helped a very young, green kid improve her voice and planted the hope that one day, just maybe, her dream would come true. We had a lot of fun back then too with the class.
All the best, Grant. You are not alone, mate. If Friday night proved anything, it was that.