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Darryl Holter, Stella Parton and Bobby Flores – New To CSO
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

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

Delve 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 condition.

The probing 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.

Official Website


Stella Parton - Testimony -- Raptor Records

As 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 player.

“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.

Religious shades 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 keeper.

Official Website


Bobby Flores - Eleven Roses – Yellow Rose Records

Bobby 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.

Official Website



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