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Silverwood - My Side of Town
By: Cheryl Harvey Hill, Sr. Staff Journalist

They were named the 2004 Deutscher (German) Pop and Rock Band of the year but their newest album, My Side of Town, is a delightfully eclectic mix of music (sung in perfect English) that is certain to appeal to a diverse audience of music lovers around the world; including country music fans. It isn't surprising that the Universal Music Group was eager to pull them under their international umbrella.

Miruna, Heiko Ahrend, Tix Kovacs, Thorsten Loher and Stefan Franz comprise the dynamic super group from Germany called Silverwood; ironically, named after a location in the desert area between Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the United States where they once visited. This extraordinary ensemble is as adept at songwriting as they are singing; in fact, they wrote all twelve songs on this album. After listening to just one run through it is easy to understand why they have won "Best Band of the Year" almost every year since their inception in 1998, from both the German American Country Music Federation (GACMF) and the Independent Country Music Federation (ICMF) in Europe. "Jealous Heart" was the first song to be released from their new album and, not surprisingly, it went straight to the number one spot on several European charts.

This uniquely, and similarly, talented band could justifiably boast three lead singers but it is the beautiful Miruna that is most often featured. However, all of the vocals on this album are a delight and the instrumentals are equally pleasing. I enjoyed the entire album but there were a few songs that stood out for me; one of them was "Pages." This is a really superb song both musically and lyrically and Miruna has the perfect voice to deliver it with just the right amount of feeling. It's a heartrending story about being able to turn back the pages of time and the melody stayed with me for hours after I turned off the cd player; this is a simply beautiful song.

On the title cut, My Side of Town, Miruna sounds a great deal like Jo Dee Messina but this particular song would be right at home on a Shania Twain album. "Pocket Kisses" would be well received on either pop or country radio since the melody on this particular song is pleasantly contagious while "Where Did All the Bluegrass Go," on the other hand, sounds like it came directly from the hills of Appalachia. The instrumentals on this cut are especially enjoyable; plenty of fiddle, dobro, banjo and mandolin give it that authentic bluegrass sound. Heiko Ahrend wrote this song and he also takes the lead vocals on this cut. Ahrend has a great voice and you would think you were listening to someone who was raised in the southern United States, not Germany.

As soon as the piano introduction on "Good Morning My Love" started I felt a wave of nostalgia wash over me. I was truly blessed to have a grandmother who made sure I listened to plenty of "big band" albums as I was growing up and this enjoyable song would have, no doubt, been recorded by someone like Rosemary Clooney. This is simply a delightful composition of cadence and libretto and Miruna delivers it with an authentic reminiscence. It was definitely one of my favorites.

"Billy and Willy" is a truly contagious toe-tapper. It is impossible to sit still while listening to this song and the same is true of "You Won't Turn to Me." Tix Kovacs is the lead vocalist on this cut and Ahrend, who also wrote this song, joins him for the vocal harmony. By this point in the album it is crystal clear why Silverwood has won so many awards.

They may reside on another continent but they are knowledgeable entertainers with their fingers on the pulse of the music business world wide. When asked what she would change about the music business if she could change anything, Miruna's astute response was that she would "make the music industry be about the music and not about the industry." And what message would she send to her fans?

"We hope to see you all at our concerts. Bring your hearts with you" and after a heartfelt thank you for the support she adds, "the stage is our bread, music is our water but your applause is our air to breathe." I think there's a country song in there somewhere and, if there is, I'm confident it will be on the next album.

When they began their musical career in 1998, they aspired to "add new standards to the European Country Music scene" and after listening to their latest album, I'm certain that is a goal they easily achieved and have far surpassed.


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