CD Review by Tony Smith
Karen Lynne is a multi-award-winning country and western musician from the Blue Mountains.
There are sixteen tracks on this 2007 album and the final track is a PC playable video clip.
Of the remaining tracks all but three made the national Australian Country Music Charts and four made it to the Top 5. Lynne has writing credits on four tracks.
She teams with Pat Drummond on ‘Everyone Was Right’ and ‘The Rush’, with Heather Field on ‘This Ring’ and with Field and James Gillard on ‘Grandma Used To Say’.
She covers Drummond’s, ‘The Days When We Were Young’, Gordon Lightfoot’s, ‘The Circle is Small’, and meticulously acknowledges other copyright holders.
She says which earlier album is the source of songs, namely ‘Second Wind’, ‘Blue Mountain Rain’, ‘Labour of Love’, ‘Changes’ and ‘Six Days in December’. ‘Blue Mountain Rain’ (2001) is an interesting album. Made in collaboration with the band, Acoustic Shock, this is claimed as the first full bluegrass album to be made by a female Australian performer.
The tracks from this album include, ‘Send Me the Pillow’, ‘This Ring’ and ‘You’re Running Wild’.
Lynne is ably supported on these tracks by a host of experienced performers, many who hail from the Blue Mountains: Clare O’Meara, Pete Drummond, Gary Steele, Tom Graso, Martin Louis, Jim Rush, Lyn Bowtell, Mick Albeck, Quentin Fraser, Trev Warner, Rod McCormack, Michel Rose, Rob Frencham, Kere Buchanan, Bill Chambers, Stuart French, Glen Wilson, Hank Kovac, Ian Simpson, Jeff Mercer, Phil Sharp, Bruce Tulloch, Ian Lees, Andrew Clement, Kym Warner, Liz Frencham, Marcus Holden, Michael Kerin, Nigel Lever and Mark Punch.
The album opens with some firm country style tracks, ‘I’ll Just Pretend’ and ‘Roses in the Snow’.
The lap steel, the harmonies and the subjects of the lyrics are unmistakably Country & Western.
Country fans might disagree but for me a couple of songs stand out, possibly because they break the country mould.
These are more in the bluegrass style accompaniment which has fiddle, bass and acoustic guitar with banjo and mandolin weaving in and out and with dobro rather than lap steel. This combination seems to encourage a different kind of harmony that is fresher and probably more towards the folk end of country. Perhaps partly for these reasons, I enjoyed ‘The Healing Kind’ – ‘the pain grows stronger every day’ and ‘This Ring’ at ‘springtime in the mountains’ with its happy banjo riffs.
‘Half the Moon’ has the best lyrics. ‘I Don’t Know Why’ (‘I’m so in love with you… I’m somewhere dreams come true … I don’t know why I know these things but I do’) has simple enough words but neat mandolin and is a very catchy song.
‘This Man I Love’ rocks and ‘Till You Loved Me’ is classic country and showcases the lower range of Lynne’s voice.
Pat Drummond’s song writing gives nothing away to the noted American country writers covered here.
But ultimately, the outstanding feature of The Singles is Karen Lynne’s strong and true voice which is always in command of the material and always makes very pleasant listening.