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Becky Schlegel - For All The World To See
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

What a deeply satisfying album For All The World To See is from Becky Schlegel. The voice, the songs, the artistry of the musicians, all adds to an album that, simply, is clear, melodic and easy on the senses. Schlegel is a multi-award winning singer and songwriter. It shows. She has a host of Bluegrass Artist of the Year awards on her mantelpiece; again, no surprises – this daughter of a South Dakota rancher is polished and poised, fully realised on these 11 self-written tracks.

While comparisons are not needed, if you think Alison Krauss you’re getting the vocal flavor here. The voice is mellowed, expressive and tainted with emotional feel – Schlegel paints with her crafted words, making each tune a standout experience. This song detail makes for involved listener enjoyment.

The album opens with the title cut. The beauty of this track, indeed the album, is it’s not a rushed and paced affair; no, everything flows, gentle and pure, taking the listener into a musical world miles from the familiarity of Nash Vegas and its similar sounding clones. Schlegal is masterful in her work – heady praise – but honestly deserved. When she joins with her band of virtuoso musical mates, the outcome is brilliant and beautiful.

The title cut proves the point. The opening play, Bo Ramsey’s unobtrusive guitar marries well with Brian Fesler’s light banjo; it all melds in a background of minimal interruption to Schlegel’s tune of standing strong when emotional turmoil hits. With a common theme of connectedness, this wife and mother of two boys shares heartfelt emotion on similar sentiment tracks “Why Maybe,” “99%,” and Schlegel’s album favorite, the poignant and sparse, “Lonely”. The harmony rich “Bound For Tennessee,” the revealed sadness of “Jenny” and the appreciative glance to the “Hills Of South Dakota” confirm Schlegel’s abundant talents.

Industry press for this Minnesota talent is encouraging. Speaking of her earlier work – Red Leaf and Drifter Like Me --one review writer said her voice was enough to make grown men cry, while another said her voice could make an older person feel faint. Of this recent album, another noted music insider has said, “It is a stunning CD…and I don’t say that lightly.”

Misery never sounded better, as Becky Schlegel sings of betrayal and abandonment. The finery of her songs comes wrapped in a bluegrass mode that is delightfully musical, keenly expressive and emotionally revealing; now, if country radio moves beyond its imposed safety of predictable formats, soon it could be, as her album suggests, for all the world to see.

Out on Lilly Ray Records, June 17 is the release date.

 


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