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Kelly Willis - Translated From Love
Review By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

Kelly Willis, a blonde Texas beauty married to country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison, has spent the last five years since her last disc titled Easy, an acoustic masterpiece featuring guitarist Bryan Sutton, raising her four kids.

Willis' new CD titled Translated From Love, is a different animal, going a lot of directions. Teaming once again with her long-time producer Chuck Prophet, this CD contains everything from country love songs to something like the very rock sounding "Teddy Boys", which will be the first single and video. Willis sounds refreshed, her vocals have never sounded better. "Teddy Boys" has almost a techno rock thing going to it and was written by Adam Green.

Willis' voice has that Texas sound and she sings with abandon and emotion. She sings with a sense of urgency, like someone who has had a creative burst. The whole CD is the best thing that Prophet and Willis have done. Prophet also plays a lot of the guitar on the disc.

"Too Much To Lose" would make the Nashville divas jealous, just a great song with great guitar. Written by Prophet/Willis, this is a soul-bearer that has a nice full rich sound with just the sweetest tones possible.

"Sweet Sundown" (Bramblett) is an upbeat acoustic tune with some great lyrics, guitars and mandolins. 

"Stone's Throw Away" - Another emotional ballad that shows her transparency with some sweet pedal steel. It's another Willis/Prophet song. Adam Ayan of Gateway Mastering mastered this disc, a real example of how good a CD can sound.

Seriously, I would consider this one of the best recordings that I have heard this year easily. I loved Willis' last CD Easy five years ago, but Translated From Love is full of creativity and just a record done right, with everything falling into place. It almost reminds me of a classic Emmy Lou Harris disc like Elite Hotel.

The title track, "Translated From Love", is my personal favorite. A cover song that makes you feel the emotion of Willis' vocals go through you. A great melody and just beautiful guitar picking that tonally is sweet, great use of the stereo field too. I like hearing someone count out the song before they start as this sounds like a live take.

Some other guests on the CD are The Gourds, the Texas String Quartet and her hubby Bruce Robison. This is just some really great music all around, definitely in the alt/country vein. Willis has put the bar higher for herself on this great disc. A must listen for Americana fans.


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