CD review by Tony Smith
Award winning singer-songwriter, Karen Lynne describes this album as a return to ‘old fashioned “classic” Country Music.
No Bluegrass or Country/Folk this time around, just simple, straight … “Country”.
Lynne says that she wanted to emphasise the ‘sweetness and gentleness’ without the genre crossovers.
Country fans will agree enthusiastically, but at the same time, this is an album free of the usual country and western clichés, one which has a very general appeal.
Karen Lynne is joined on this album by some excellent musicians.
These include Brad Bergin (drums), Ian Lees (bass), Stuart French (guitars), Bill Risby (piano), Michel Rose (pedal steel), James Gillard and Mark Punch (backing vocals), Randy Kohrs (dobro and vocals), Luke Moller (fiddle and mandolin), Tim Crouch (fiddle, mandolin, djembe, double bass) and Gary Steele (accordion).
Lynne draws on a range of composers but also writes a couple of tracks with Allan Caswell – ‘Here for You’ and ‘The Road That Brought Me Here’.
Caswell is a prolific songwriter whose songs have been covered by many outstanding artists.
Other tracks include Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’ and the Mary Chapin Carpenter lullaby ‘Dreamland’.
One of the most powerful songs is ‘Jenny Dreamed of Trains’ by Vince Gill and Guy C. Clark.
With great fiddle, mandolin and dobro backing, this song would appeal to fans of any genre.
For those of us who regret the way Australian railways have been allowed to rust while destructive heavy vehicles batter the roads to dust, the lyrics are relevant and poignant.
‘The Road That Brought Me Here’ tells a great personal story.
Lynne notes her own musical journey, beginning with her ukulele and then going on the road professionally.
She also has a note of criticism for industries which tend not to value women as they mature.
While Lynne seems to have been reluctant to record ‘Crazy’, she really should have embraced the song years ago.
It is unlikely that Willie Nelson would have heard a sweeter rendition of his country classic.
‘Friends’ by Joni Harms and Buck Moore, makes an excellent finale.
‘A friend stands beside you, feels your joy and pain, and once you’ve found a good one, life’s never the same, a true friend is there through thick and thin, oh where would be without friends’.
Lynne’s perfect timing and enunciation are features of ‘Something That We Do’ by Clint Black and Skip Ewing.
Few vocalists have the kind of understanding of a song shown by Lynne on this track.
The arrangements on this album of 14 tracks are very astute.
There is rare subtlety in the blending and balance of the instruments and the vocal harmonies are never intrusive.
Special mention should be made of the dobro of Randy Kohrs, which is, not surprisingly, a feature of the backing of several songs.
Karen Lynne’s voice is sweet and true.
One company producing audio equipment always asked Mary Black to test their equipment.
Karen Lynne has the same purity in her voice.
Let’s hope that she embraces those laugh lines and continues to use the golden voice which has improved with experience.