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Erin Hay - The Collection  
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

Her catch-phrase is a revealing truth. For talented Erin Hay "When it’s too country for everyone else, it’s just right for me" is more about attitude than a boastful declaration. And just right it is, as her latest release The Collection (Westwood Int'l. Records) proves.

Drawing popular cuts from three previous albums and five tracks from her upcoming Blue Country Song album, this Southern California-raised and now Nashville-based singer and songwriter delivers strongly across an album of toe-tappers, weepers and traditional country fare. It’s easily understood, given the talent here, how she’s been one of the Internet’s most downloaded on country music sites.

Now with 23 of her best, Hay with long-time pal and musical mentor Lonnie Ratliff has something here that spans her career chase that started with her Nashville arrival in ‘91. That’s not to say Erin Hay hasn’t already earned fan and industry interest. She has. She’s toured Europe and Australia; and she’s well regarded on the American Indie circuit. But that final breakthrough, that final industry embrace, has eluded her. Maybe that’s about to change. She has the voice, she has the style and with this album, providing it snags the needed interest, she could have the fame. She’s done the hard yards, she’s worn the shoe leather, and she’s certainly a worthy waiter in the wings. Her best of may just be the blowtorch to create the needed smoke and fire.

The album kicks to life with "I’d Be In Memphis". Spirited and engaging, piano, steel and guitar lead the charge on a track that mines misery, but in the most musical of ways. Strength and determinism show up on the Hay and Ratliff-penned "Leaning On A Rock That Never Rolls", while the stain and shadow of war and its aftermath echo on "Midnight At The Old Soldiers’ Home". Memory prodders come offered with the Tom.T.Hall classic "Harper Valley PTA" and John Denver’s "Take Me Home Country Roads" is a welcomed inclusion.

With a confident vocal style, Hay remains consistent, and consistently good, when she tackles heart tugs like "Ten Thousand Teardrops Ago", the Bill Jackson-penned "The Tree" and the classic "Don’t Worry Bout Me", a Marty Robbins memory.

And that’s one of her defining strengths. Hay can sing just about anything. Whether she’s cutting loose with the steel-driven ode to the Opry, ‘The Circle", or the Dolly Parton cut, "False Eyelashes", or the Leroy Van Dyke charter, "Walk On By", or the lamenting truth of "Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad" Hay brings feel, voice and melody to all she tackles.

Erin Hay: remember the name. Watch and wait. Meanwhile, become acquainted. The Collection is a solid introduction to a discovery waiting to happen.

1. I'd Be In Memphis
2. Leaning On A Rock That Never Rolls
3. Midnight At The Old Soldiers' Home
4. Harper Valley P.T.A.
5. Ten Thousand Teardrops Ago
6. Take Me Home Country Roads
7. Givin' Old Memories Away
8. Somebody's Angel
9. The Tree
10. Don't Worry Bout Me
11. Farther Along
12. If Teardrops Were Pennies
13. The Circle
14. False Eyelashes
15. Walk On By
16. My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You
17. Tennessee Moon
18. Honky Tonk Heaven
19. There Goes My Everything
20. Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
21. Mirror, Mirror (On The Wall)
22. Honky Tonk Girl
23. I Got The Blues Again

Related Links:
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