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Leah Seawright – Country Girl 101 (CD Review )

Leah Seawright – Country Girl 101 (CD Review )
1. Country Girl 101 2. Southern Boy 3. Don’t Take My Lexus 4. On the Backroads
5. Standing Right Here 6. Strong 7. Back To Dixie 8. Soft Abs and Hard Arteries 9. Bama Sky
10. Wait 11. That Feeling 12. Over the Storm 4:16 13. Feeling You Gone 14. My Own Way
Label – Skytone Records
Release Date – 1 February 2011
Time – 54:29
Country / Southern Rock/ Blues
COUNTRY GIRL 101 marks the first country release for this attractive mother of three. She was born and still resides in Fort Payne, Alabama the home of southern rock band Alabama. Leah Seawright was surrounded by music from birth; her parents are both musicians and singers. When she was in elementary school she developed a speech impediment and had to take classes, and was able to overcome it. In ninth grade she auditioned as a backup singer for a band and stayed with them for 2 years. Following graduation from high school, one night, enjoying an evening out at a supper club in Attalla her Alabama pals secretly passed a note to the bandleader of the group playing there. They suggested they invite her up on stage to sing. She did and later became their female singer. The bands keyboard player became her future husband who owned a small recording studio where she would work and pen songs. Leah would record two gospel albums and when she felt she had bagged enough good material that was worthy she planned to make a country record. 
In 2004 a few months after the birth of her third child she entered a local singing contest and won best Solo artist. One of the judges was Frank Green who writes 7 of the songs, plays multiple instruments and acts as engineer on this album.
On the long path Leah has been treading, much to her credit it has resulted in her writing and co-writing 13 of the 14 songs on this country debut. Her talents have been recognized getting the call to open for some notable stalwarts including Mark Chesnutt, John Michael Montgomery, Restless Heart and John Anderson.
In teaming up with Green he has recruited many highly creditable musicians, including: J.T. Corenflos (acoustic and electric guitar), Larry Franklin (fiddle), Wayne Killius (drums), Steve King (keyboards), Chris Leuzinger (electric guitar) Greg Morrow (drums), Jimmy Nichols (keyboards) Danny Parks (acoustic & electric guitars) and Carol Chase (backing vocals).
Another coup was in hiring Mark Herndon the former rock drummer who helped give the group Alabama its signature sound. Leah sweet-talked the former stick man to come to her husband’s studio and check out the music she had recorded. Herndon plays percussion and adds background vocals on a couple of tracks and wrote the liner notes, recounting Seawright as being “genuine and authentic.”
In describing Leah’s voice it’s as if Tanya Tucker, Pat Benatar and Janis Joplin had all taken a sip from the same cup of coffee. On the rocky opener with its driving guitars and rhythms Country Girl 101’ sets a scorching pace on this Seawright/Green composition. She’s a hot girl with attitude when giving a country-girl lesson! The advice to the guy is to love her like crazy and if he cranks her tractor he’ll get some romancing. She’s nobody’s one night stand as she wants to be treated like an angel. If he aspires to reach the top of class he needs to be cool with her brother, and mind his manners if he wants to pass!
The gritty anthemic ‘Southern Boy’ gives the thumbs up to the hard working boys from the south who demonstrates they have all the right morals and attitudes. ‘Don’t Take My Lexus’ is a fun number. She may not know what’s under the hood but if it ever came to break-up time she’s in need of that SUV for the kids – “lookin’ so good” driving down the road he’ll never let her go!
Album standout and face-paced ‘On The Backroads’ speaks of crazy teenage days. She’s breaking all the rules, living on the wild side, chasing forbidden love and feeling forever in one night. In ‘Standing Right Here the girl is tired of crying tears after break-up but in ‘Strong’ her heart is healing, she’s mad for love once more and strong enough to pull through.
In ‘Back To Dixie’ this southern gals roots are firmly in Dixieland. You’ll never be able to take the “country” out of her know matter where her road will lead.
Soft Abs and Hard Arteries’ is a light-hearted poke at a man that was once a woman’s dreams. Laced in steel and fiddle it makes for a great honky-tonk toe tapper.
With the smell of honey-suckle in the air thoughts turn back to innocent teenage days on the mid-paced, self-penned love song Bama Sky’. Seawright remembers carefree times holding hands down that ole’ dirt road while the summer sun shines.
On the sassy ‘Wait’, some good lookin’ fella may find out that this passion filled lady has a secret crush on him. Harmonica, fiddle and guitar riffs cut some cool grooves in the vinyl on this one, as Seawright’s vocal oozes sexy with a smile on her face.
That Feelin’ written by Brad Durham offers a much needed slower tempo, more depth and with its powerful message allows the Alabama singer to show off her southern growl. The pace returns on ‘Over the Storm’ a carry over song from her gospel outing which is a cry out for strength after facing mother natures enemies. It was inspired by the events of Hurricane Katrina.
Feeling You Gone’ best illustrates the quality and emotion that Leah’s vocal can convey on this outstanding heartbreaker which has universal fascination. With a heartache of F5 proportions, the loss of such a deep love rips like a tornado at the heart. For Seawright it draws on a true life experience. Her aunt lost a son in a car accident some 10 minutes after speaking with him on the phone. The angst reigns out with the words: God, I wish I’d never hung up the phone.
My Own Way’ wraps things up, in which a girl whose graduated will make her own decisions and pave her destiny. 
COUNTRY GIRL 101 shows much promise but the tracks are too one dimensional which may tempt listeners to reach for the skip button. It’s worth taking this lady for a test drive but I hope she mixes it up on 102 with some slow killer ballads. If she does then Leah will see us right.

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