Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison Cheater's Game 2013

Very well recorded modern-trad country. Straight ahead standard issue country: guitars, mandolin, violin, steel guitar, banjo, and drums, all acoustic instruments presented in a fine acoustic space. Even if you don't like the music, you might still want to hear how good this recording is.

And the music, well, it's something else. Kelly Willis is The Consummate Country Singer of Her Era. The only other singer I can think of that comes close is the Dixie Chick's Natalie Maines. She can also harmonize with Robison's heartfelt tenor to lovely effect.

Willis takes her share of leads, but hubby Robison gets his share, too, and there's quite a few legitimate duet vocals that are splendid. Their voices are natural together.

The recording is clean and pure, rivaling the fine records Guy Clark makes. There are delicious solos on guitar, pedal steel, violin and harmonica. The singing is excellent. Robison is no slouch, and of course Willis is as good as singing gets. 

There are well-chosen covers mixed with Robison's original material, and everything is first rate. I made copious and detailed notes, but really all you need to know is you should hear this. If you're familiar with Kelly Willis, and want a new Kelly Willis record, this is darn close, and dare I say, almost equally satisfying. If you are unfamiliar with Kelly Willis, you might start here.  Or here.

Quality modern country music. We could sure use more like this.

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