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CD: JOHN CONLEE – Classics 2


JOHN CONLEE

Classics 2

Domestic Life – Stuff That Works – Walkin’
Behind The Star – Hit The Ground Runnin’ – A Lot Of Things Different –
Mama’s Rockin’ Chair – Love In The Real World – Pocket Full of Crosses –
Harmony – The In Crowd – Bread And Water – Sure

 

Before I got deeply involved in country music, during my
college days I played a tenor-sax.  Jim Horn does that in this new CD by
John Conlee.  I sort of dropped the sax to play 12-string guitar and
harmonica in my efforts at keeping some of America’s most beautiful
rural music alive.  Jim is doing that too, another time element perhaps,
but the sax sounds great on the opening song ‘Domestic Life.’  Mr.
Conlee is looking for the ‘right’ songs to record.  His very distinctive
voice has placed him at the top of the charts many many times, and here
he is, still as strong, still as vivid, still as ‘country’ as he’s
always been.  The messages in the songs he’s recording is best
represented in “Stuff That Works” which talks about blue shirts and
boots.  Typical ‘country’ and in my words the ‘rural’ approach to music.
He does it well.  I really like John’s voice, I’m 79 years old and my
hearing is beginning to fade, but I can understand every single word he
is singing.  That’s not always the case with some of Nashville’s
new-country, which I don’t hardly recognize any ‘connects’ with rural
music anymore.  John Conlee overcomes that quite easily, and uses his
voice to make it understandable two ways, in the way he uses language
and the way he uses confirmation of the words he sings.  Mr. Conlee was
just about at our annual National Old Time Country Festival in LeMars,
Iowa this year (2015), to be inducted into America’s Old Time Country
Music Hall of Fame, but a conflict of dates occurred so he didn’t make
it, but we are sure holding the door open for him in 2016. Rob Ickes (a
super bluegrasser) plays Dobro on this session, oooooh so sweet it is. 
Aubrey Haymie on fiddle keeps it country as does Mike Johnson on steel.
Without these instruments in the swell of the music it really isn’t
country music anymore if they aren’t present.  It could be labeled city
music, or at best suburban music, but it’s not country music.  John
Conlee IS ‘country music.’  I really like Dirk Johnson’s keyboard
accordion sound on “Hit The Ground Runnin” wow, that really takes it
back to an early country sound, terrific.  And then on “Pocket Full of
Crosses” his keyboard sounds like a huge Hammond Organ.  How neat is
that?  Good song too, excellently written by Leslie Satcher.  I’d like
to hear John record “Far Side Banks of Jordan” some time, his voice and
the words are a perfect match.  Super super album Mr. Conlee, keep it
up.  You might think you are an older man, however your spirit and your
recognition of great musical words and works make you a pretty neat
young guy.

RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART – www.ntcma.net   

for Country Music News International

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