After twenty-one years of writing songs that were recorded and made famous by a cross section of country greats, Byron finally got around to giving us a sample of his interpretations of songs from his own pen, in collaboration with others. My biggest question is "what took him so long?" Well, he´s not only a songwriter but also produces other country artists.
This is one of those recordings where I find myself hitting the repeat button. The songs come across as acoustic country, and are a wonderful example that less can be more - two guitars, upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, dobro and harmonica in different combinations, played by excellent musicians who create sounds perfectly fitting the mood that the lyrics deliver. These are stories of good and bad love, a clever tongue-in-cheek account of how a relationship can change not only your life, but your surroundings, facts of life with the metaphor of "musical chairs," and salty water dripping from every line of a (satirical) tear jerker with the befitting title You Sure Peeled The Onion"
Byron´s smooth baritone with a bit of a rough edge is naturally expressive and beautiful, and a pleasure to listen to. Singing harmonies as well is like double fudge ice cream with nuts and swirls - double the pleasure.
The melodies of the songs are not simple, yet they have a sort of inherent familiarity where they embed themselves in your memory. Suddenly they pour out, and you start humming or singing.... Well, do I sound excited? I am!
If you like intelligent country music and can do without rhinestone overproduction, this is a winner! I do like Tracy Byrd´s rendition of Byron´s Lifestyles Of The Not So Rich And Famous, but from what I´ve heard on this album, I'd most likely prefer his back porch acoustic approach.
Lyrics and recording information are contained in a nicely done booklet.
Any complaints? With a little over forty-five minutes of music it´s not one of the shortest albums in country music, but all the empty space on the CD is a shame.
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|Byron Hill: acoustic guitar, all vocals |
B. James Lowry: acoustic guitar
David Hungate: upright acoustic bass
Aubrey Haynie: mandolin, fiddle
Sonny Garrish: dobro
Jelly Roll Johnson: harmonica
Produced by B. James Lowry & Byron Hill
Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz