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Chely Wright - Metropolitan Hotel  
CD Review: Jim Moulton

Beautiful Chely Wright is back with a strong set of songs. Her strong, emotive country voice has not changed. Chely released several major label CDs in the ninetys, probably most remembered for "Single White Female". She's still singing Nashville country music.

This is a departure for her new label "Dualtone" known best for great Americana compilations and big names David Ball and Radney Foster with a long list of other Alt/country clientele. Chely was recently with a small music row label Vivaton for awhile, apparently had a CD ready to go, but things did not work out.

Chely produced this disc and wrote most of the songs. This CD is a mix of previously recorded songs and recently recorded songs recorded for Dualtone. It is a good solid recording, covering more studios and tracking rooms than I ever saw on one disc. The Nashville String Machine makes some appearances. Very interesting, with all or almost all of the songs, the music is recorded at one place and the vocals recorded somewhere else. A lot of the songs have a new country feel with a rock style recording, drums out front, and electric rock guitar and special effects galore.

Probably the best song on the disc is the single "The Bumper Of My S.U.V." Just piano and Mandolin and Chely's vocals. Give Chely credit, she has toured Iraq to entertain the troops. She can back this song up. Simply put, great song.

Very pretty pic of Chely on the CD cover and nice booklet with lyrics. No mastering credits, but it was done well, even with all of these different recordings. I have no idea where the name of the disc came from, some things in life are not meant to be explained. What is important, is the passion that Chely has put into this recording. I can safely say that this is the best female country CD that I have heard this year. It's creative, not cliche'd. 

There are lots of well known studio musicians here, from Brian Sutton (acoustic guitar) to Aubrey Haynie (fiddle) to Shannon Forrest (drums) and even Vince Gill singing backup on one song. Lots of songs have musicians listed that can't be heard in the mix (guitars are loud in a lot of songs).

"Wheels" is a Wright song that I like, great lyrics and melody, great chorus. Loud rock-style recording, pretty steel by Russ Pahl. 

"C'est la vie (you can never tell)", a Chuck Berry cover, is a nice change up up that really cooks with some hot piano from Gordon Mote who is the only musician on every song on the record. Great Berry type guitar and awesome drums. 

"What If I Can't Say No Again" is a great Nashville country ballad with some really tasteful guitar riffs by Jeff King. Great lyrics and backup vocals. Jimmy Carter plays some melodic bass runs. Great haunting steel.

Time to put on the brakes and mention my two favorites. Opening track "It's The Song" is about touring and performing music. Love the out front acoustic guitar throughout the track. Great song co-written by Katrina Elam and Bonnie Baker, with a warm acoustic feel. Emily West on backup vocals. 

"The River" is a slow sort of macabre song bout a river and people drowning in it, getting baptized in it, everything revolves around the river. Nice slow melody. Vince Gill provides incredible vocals that wraparound Chelys part. Some of their harmonies send chills thru me. Some spooky steel effects by Scotty Saunders. These songs all have a very full production sound. Good Work!! Street Date 2/22/05. 

Go visit Chely at www.Chely.com.

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Real People Reviews

I really liked your review. I've been listening to this CD on CMT's Listening Party and really loved it. I feel the CD has a mix of ballads and up-beat songs, which really makes it great to listen to. In short, GREAT CD !! 

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