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Lori Willcuts - Black-eyed Susans
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Contributing Journalist

Once in a while an artist pops up under the radar, unknown, yet exceptional. Such is the case of Lori Willcuts. (This is her third CD by the way) I found her on CD Baby , listening to a friend, it said, if you like this artist you will like Willcuts. Well, I listened and loved what I heard. 

Willcuts hails from Oregon and wrote nine of the 10 tracks on Black-eyed Susan's. She has a voice that is original, emotive and well controlled. This is a very high quality recording. Recorded at Nashville's Sony Tree Studios, and produced by Paul Alfred Hart. Standout studio musicians Greg Morrow/drums, Biff Watson/acoustic guitars and Adam Schoenfeld/electric guitars. Most of all, Russ Pahl/pedal steel, electric guitar, banjo and mandolin, Pahl is an exceptional musician. Mastered by Richard Dodd. Several other musicians and backup singers help out here.

Willcuts sound here is a hi-quality alt/country recording. Watson's acoustic guitar is just sparkling and sweet. Pahl is great on pedal steel plus banjo and mandolin. Christian themes run thru the disc. Willcuts songs are refreshing and there is not a bad track here. She has an original sound and honesty about her. Her vocals do not remind me of anyone. She has a way of telling her stories effectively. This is not a thickly layered recording, all of the instruments are pronounced and everything is heard easily.

Let's zoom in on some songs; Her first single "Black-eyed Susan's" (yellow daisy with black center) is an upbeat acoustic sounding country song with a great melody, great hooks, some incredible pedal steel and acoustic guitar pickin'. It's the story of a trucker on the road for two weeks at a time. Just a real nice vibe and an incredibly warm song.

"Moonlit Shores" is a slow paced acoustic ballad about love, great fiddle, backup vocals, drums, Willcuts really can take you on a musical voyage. 

"Grace Is Waiting" is a sad story about addiction and a lady who has to beat her addiction to get her child back. "But if Jesus sees me as I could be",  nice string arrangement.

"For A Moment" has some beautiful lyrics, a song dealing with life's struggles, great fiddle, just a refreshing sound and pretty backup vocals. 

"Abide With Me" (Public Domain) the only song Willcuts did not write is a beautiful country gospel song that highlights Willcuts' vocals. Sparse background music that is ethereal and worshipful.

Willcuts is unique, her approach to songwriting reminds me of Mindy Smith. She definitely belongs on a label.  

Related Links:
www.LoriWillcuts.com - Official Site

To visit Jim Moulton's website click here

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