What do you do when an accomplished country artist covers some of the finest musicians ever? It’s easy, you sit back, listen, and enjoy. I might be playing favorites but this little lady knows her stuff, and how to flaunt it. I guess “all those hours of practicing paid off.” She’s Louise Mandrell, and her killer new release, her first in over fifteen years, is PlayingFavorites.
Louise opens with “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” an awesome country song with a bit of the blues flavor added. Ray has rubbed off on her. Covering Johnny Cash is difficult, but she nails it with “Ring of Fire.” “Tennessee Waltz” is another cool piece, you just need a rocker, a front porch, and lemonade. Vodka is optional. “Bye Bye Love,” is a rockabilly piece, but Louise doesn’t roll too far from country. “Hello Darlin” gets my heart beating when she sings, “Hello Darlin, let me kiss you.” But “Night Life” is my favorite. Louise shows us she is much more than a country artist providing us with bluesy jazz flavors. She closes with “You Don’t Know Me,” a perfect ending.
Covering fifteen tracks is strenuous, but Louise Mandrell
keeps herself out of the box. Once you think you’ve figured her out, she will
“rock” you back and forth with something different, and is having fun at the
same time. I’m J.R. Miller with High Note Reviews, and this is Louise Mandrell Playing Favorites.
It was a great Sunday at AT&T Field in Chattanooga as onlookers in attendance watched the finale of the Hucks For Heroes fund raiser, organized by Derek Murray to cover medical costs for the victims of the July shootings. The event featured Lee University students as they broke the Guinness World Record time for the longest non-stop Frisbee throwing (90 hours). The evening was topped off with Smith & Wesley, and American Idol finalist Clark Beckham in performance. Sgt. Dennis Pedigo, one of the shooting victims, was in attendance to support the Hucks For Heroes event.
An added treat backstage with brothers, Scott and Todd Smith, I was able to meet with Bonnie Bramlett of the famed Delaney & Bonnie. Also in the crowd the famous Blue man, Blue Miller. It would be easier to list the artists Blue has not worked with in the music industry. Blue shared with me an artist he recently co- wrote and produced, India Arie’s “Acoustic Soul” albumnominated for seven Grammys. Greg Shirley was also part of the Smith & Wesley posse with his Garage Door Records debut release, RaisedOn The Run.And can’t leave out new artist, Brittany Bexton with her newly released single, “Free Fall.” After spending time chatting with Brittany, I realized this little lady has all the “smarts” with great talent to go along with it. It’s clear, she has her heart, mind, and soul in her music.
Recently, I heard a band whose roots are in North Georgia and Chattanooga. Living in Georgia for twenty-eight years, I had to investigate. After further research, I realized the band has a great mix. At times, I listen to a little Alan Jackson, and even some George Jones. Continue reading Smith & Wesley, “Choices & Chances”→
Carl Jackson is one of the greatest having his work appear on 650 albums, was in the Producer’s Chair with James Rey at Douglas Corner in Nashville. Carl’s work includes touring with Glen Campbell for twelve years, and has recorded with Brad Paisley, Linda Ronstadt, Blake Shelton, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart and many others. Carl’s latest album release, Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited, re-records a time period where Johnny Cash stated was “the most significant period in country music.” The album represents a “Who’s Who” lists in country music. Presently, there is a documentary in works from the album and The Bristol Sessions that was recorded from July 25 to August 5, 1927, and is referred to the “big bang of country music.” To read more about Carl visit his website at www.carljackson.net. He is an awesome banjo player and great all around musician. He is also a very humble and super nice guy.
The Stomp Concert series and brainchild Lyndsey Highlander has teamed with Producer Jeff Roberts and Director Hank Elliott to film a reality TV pilot that deals with the lives of up and coming artists.
For those unaware, The Stomp’s conception came from Lyndsey who “wants to turn the trend in Country Music to include women and their stories.” Mary Sarah, April Kry, and Lyndsey Highlander gave a performance at the Soulshine Pizza Factory that was sublime. All three artists were amazing as they performed in a trio number at the end of the show. The audience loved them plus being filmed in a reality show was an added bonus. By the way, the food at Soulshine Pizza Factory is excellent!
Had an awesome night in Nashville last night. I went to the GEORGE JONES MUSEUM . Its a very cool place, got to meet and chat with George’s wife NANCY, and took in some country music from Donna Phillips Schacher, formerly with Mustang Sally with her husband Jim Schacher, and Ric Wright. Jim and Ric currently play with TG SHEPPARD. An added bonus to the evening Billy Yates sat in on a few numbers who wrote “Choices” and “I Don’t Need Your Rockin Chair.” A great evening, Nancy is a diamond in the rough, a class act, and will carry on keeping country music alive and well. The museum is fantastic with so much to see and read, probably need to make a second trip. You need to put this on your “things to do list.”