Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kelly Willis Translated From Love 2007

This excellent record is just one of many from Ms. Willis that answer the question "What ever happened to great country music?" While the rest of the Country scene is filling the airwaves with a mix of country-rock a la the Eagles and big-hair eighties guitar rock ballads, there still exist artists like Willis. She has a perfect country singer voice with a little twang and lilt, and that catch in her phrasing that lets you understand heartbreak even if you've never been in love.

The record kicks off with Nobody Wants To Go To The Moon Anymore, a rolling rocker with a great hook in the chorus. Too Much To Lose is Willis at her best, crying her way through the pain. Losing You is a classic country tune with wonderful pedal steel guitar and a great lyric. Don't Know Why, The More I'm Around You, and Stone's Throw Away are highlights. There are a few that try just a little too hard, and there's even some concession to the big rock new country sound. But not too much, and when Willis hits her stride, she's unbeatable.

This time out she's produced by Chuck Prophet, with Prophet and Willis co-writing many of the songs, and there is a more rock-oriented sound than earlier recordings. You should probably own What I Deserve 1999 or Easy 2002 if you're new to Kelly Willis. This one almost rivals those former career twin peaks, and is easy to recommend.

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