Here at CSO the time
is right for some needed housekeeping. The vaults are
stacked and stuffed. We have music, which for reasons of
time and space, is still in need of a review. George Peden
remedies that, as he checks in on some new music bubbling
just under the radar.
Darryl Holter -
Self-titled – 213 Music
and delve deeply into the life and lyrics of Minneapolis
born Darryl Holter, and you’ll find a storyteller, one who
has lived richly against the backdrop of his folksy tunes.
From his liner notes, we learn his musical hero is Bob
Dylan. We also learn Holter played on picket lines with Pete
Seeger. These two influences shine out, and brightly, on an
album, that by contrast, is truthfully moody.
Tracks like “Living
On The Edge” with its tough times and low spirits, captures
the lyrical truth: “The setting sun, the rising moon, the
memories forgot too soon, the vacuum sucking up your breath,
somewhere between life and death, living on the edge,” all
the while showcasing Holter’s sensitivities for the human
relevance of “I Should Have Seen It Coming”, a weathered
look at the need to check before you buy, be it life or
love, is a tune that sits well here on this, Holter’s debut.
So, too, are over-time favorites “Best,” a dirt road tune of
travel and distance and how it makes the heart grow fonder;
also in the mix “Gambler’s Holiday,” “Cardboard Lover” and
the Parisian travelogue “Left Bank Blues” – all tunes with a
message, carried by a sincere voice with worldly experience.
Darryl Holter ain’t
for everyone. I suspect he isn’t trying to be. However, his
music is an ideal shadow to the life and times we may have
lived, at least those of us with a wrinkle or two and a few
miles on the dash.
“These songs are
stories from my life,” he says, talking about the album.
“It’s my personal musical journey from country music to
folk, protest songs to blues, and finally, to whatever it is
that I do today.”
CSO comment: This is
a reflective and thoughtful debut.
Stella Parton -
Testimony -- Raptor Records
the sibling sister of the iconic Dolly, Stella has earned
her right, too, to a distinctive one name. The
multi-talented performer – she has DVDs, books and CDs to
her credit – she also is an actress and an activist (she’s
served as national spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk
Driving) -- is back on the music shelves with Testimony.
The 11 tracker, all
tunes self-written or co-written, are among her best, says
Stella from her website. And she has every right to feel
proud. The voice, the songs and the sentiment all add to an
album, religious in flavor, which earns its keep in the CD
“Family Ties,” with
its joyous embrace of being “strong enough and deep enough”
opens the varied set. The song, a heart-touch reveal of
family power that binds, is currently at radio and doing
well. “Tell It Sister Tell It” is a powerful and
harmony-rich, saxophone etched message, grabbing you with
its charged vocal delivery.
come with “I Will Arise,” Name Above Every Name” and
“Daughter Of The King” – all personal favorites, while,
given the world’s uncertain mood, “I Love My Country” steers
us to valued patriotism.
CSO comment: It’s a
Bobby Flores - Eleven
Roses – Yellow Rose Records
Flores has done it again. He’s delivered, as he always does,
an album of talented virtuosity, well chosen and crafted
memories (or soon to be ones), all sung in a rich and
made-for-country voice. The technique is modern, the sound,
traditional. Eleven Roses is, simply, a delight.
The album opens with
the Faron Young classic, “If I Ever Fall In Love (with a
honky tonk girl)”. From there, Flores works overtime with
duty on guitars, fiddles, viola and bajo sexto, only drawing
breath to oversee everything from the producer’s booth.
While Flores has, literally, his hands full, a backslap
needs to be given to his band – Jim Loessberg (drums), Jake
Hooker (upright bass), Randy Reinhard (piano), Richard
Hunter (harmonica) and on cello, John Stuart – they all make
their mark on this.
To be honest, there
is not a dud in the pack here. Smooth, stylish and tempo
right, Flores works his way through some memorable
performances. “Are You Teasing Me”, a hit for Carl Smith is
a winner, so too is the tear-jerkin’ Ray Price tune “Don’t
You Believe Her”. “La Golondrina”, a timely waltz, gains
much from the guest fiddle appearances of Catie Offerman and
R.J. Smith, while the recognised Irish anthem “Danny Boy”
rounds out a joyous and rightly prized album.
CSO comment: Bobby
Flores has done it again.