Sunday, April 10, 2011

Christy McWilson The Lucky One 2000

Christy McWilson's The Lucky One is a remarkably solid country-rock record that sounds (in a good way) like the best of Emmylou Harris' and Linda Rondstadt's better moments from the seventies. Only better.

What makes it better is the rocking production of Dave Alvin of Blasters fame, and the exceptional band that Alvin put together for the session, including Peter Buck, Rob Glaub, Don Heffington, and Greg Leisz. McWilson has a beautiful, strong voice and she is a fine songwriter. The songs could have sounded like typical quality country music (obviously not the stuff on "country" radio), but instead, they rock hard with Alvin's production and relatively quick tempos. Which is even more appropriate given the generally sad nature of McWilson's lyrics. Let these songs be presented in slow, delicate arrangements and you've got a recipe for disaster of the boring kind.

But no boredom here. A crack ace band, a producer with a punkabilly background, and great songs sung with taste, verve and feeling. The rockers- Little Red Hen, Someday, The Weight Of The World, Cryin' Out Loud - are all big fun, and rock hard. The more country material- The Lucky One, Wishin', Apple Doll, Fly Away- all benefit from playing, singing and arranging at very high quality levels, and tempos that while slower, aren't particularly slow. Her cover of Brian Wilson's 'Til I Die is sumptuous, rich and luxurious. If you're going to slow down for something, 'Til I Die is perfect.

If you'd like to hear a country singer in a slightly different (and significantly better) setting than most of what passes for country music these days, here's a delightful option.

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