Susie McEntire – Passages (2011) CD Review
1. At Seventeen 2. When I Get Where I’m Going 3. Big Blue Sky 4. Carry You
5. If Today Was Your Last Day 6. Someone Like You 7. Ready To Fall 8. Who Am I
9. Love Is The Answer 10. Believe
Website – http://www.susieluchsinger.com/
Label – Self released © 2010 Susie McEntire, LLC
UPC – 667292079420
Release Date – November 5, 2010
Time – 41:45
This 10-track collection of covers from Christian country artist Susie McEntire marks her 17th album and also a point in time on her personal and spiritual path. Each of the tracks act like a bulleted list reflecting the contentment she now feels whilst honouring the past with a belief and faith that acts like a gateway to a new world.
On this project, recorded at Omni Sound Studios in Nashville she again calls of the services of trusted producer Billy Aerts, who also lends his backgrounds vocals.
‘At Seventeen’, the opening chapter, is the career song for Janis Ian from her 1975 album ‘Between The Lines’. Here it’s given a fresh up-tempo bluesy feel. With a bevy of talented session players on hand including Wayne Killius (drums) , Kerry Marx (electric guitar), Joel Key (acoustic guitar), Mark Jordan (piano and keys), Duncan Mullins (bass) Wanda Vick (fiddle and mandolin) and Scotty Anders (steel and dobro), the production is tasteful and clean, allowing Susie’s engaging vocals to shine and offer warmth.
‘When I Get Where I’m Going’ penned by prolific writers Rivers Rutherford and George Teren appeared on Brad Paisley’s 2005 ‘TIME WELL WASTED’ album, as a duet with Dolly Parton. Granted this new lease of life the sound is little more open. McEntire puts in a magnificent performance with her trademark vocal clarity, allowing the songs message to come across pure and true.
‘Big Blue Sky’ is a fast paced rocky number, a collaboration with Steve Azar and award winning and celebrated hit maker Rafe Van Hoy. Together they penned 6 songs on Azar’s album WAITIN’ ON JOE. Susie shares her big sisters insightful musical taste as REBA also choose to cut this on her compilation album LOVE REVIVAL released through Hallmark.
‘Carry You’ is so beautiful it could calm a restless sea; the arrangement is delicious, penned by Amy Grant and drawn from her contemporary Christian album ROCK OF AGES…HYMNS & FAITH.
‘If Today Was Your Last Day’ is an inspired inclusion, more familiar by Canadian rockers Nickelback on their ‘DARK HORSE’ album (2008). Its lyrics are tailor made for McEntire as she sings with complete conviction: Would you find that one you’re dreamin’ of? Swear up and down to God above, that you finally fell in love
if today was your last day.
‘Someone Like You’ is classy, mellow and gently paced affair. A Top 30 hit in 1987 for Van Morrison on his album ‘POETIC CHAMPIONS COMPOSE’ and also covered by artists like Diana Carroll. A popular wedding choice and Susie (formerly Luchsinger) herself found happiness once more after divorcing rodeo star Paul Luchsinger after 26 years of marriage and separation. Waiting for the light to come shining through once more, after a first casual meeting, then year long friendship, she married Mark Eaton of Seattle in Oregon in December 2009 following a 15 day engagement. Susie as a singer, spokesperson and speaker travels America with him to spread a love of music along with a message of faith and fitness.
‘Ready To Fall’ perhaps by coincidence has a romantic Seattle connection, as it was recorded in the city on Le Roy Bell’s LIVE IN 3D album. Elton John’s remixed ‘Are You Ready For Love’ composed by Bell reached #1 in England02003-08-31 back in 2003. As a song writer his music crosses many demographics and in this instance perfectly fits the Christian category. On this soulful, dreamy adaption, mandolin and steel interplay with some tasty electric guitar licks as McEntire delivers the loving and heartfelt lines: You’re the sweetest soul I could ever meet and no one can deny / When I found you I’d given up / Then you walked into my life
‘Who Am I’ with its piano arrangement brings to mind Jim Brickman. Written by John Mark Hall the leader singer and composer of the band Casting Crowns, this worship song tracked on Hosanna! Today’s Top Worship Songs for Kids. On this powerful number with its Dolly-like harmony Susie provides a wonderful album standout with an emotional-laden vocal performance.
‘Love Is The Answer’ written by Todd Rundgren which reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 for England Dan & John Ford Coley in 1979, has been covered before for the Contemporary Christian music market. It provides a perfect framework for Susie as love lights up the world with a ticket to paradise.
‘Believe’ the spiritual and warm-hearted tune gained a Single of the Year at the 2006 Country Music Association awards for its writers Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn. Brooks & Dunn as double-headliners toured with and collaborated on Reba McEntire’s ‘If You See Him/If You See Her’ and Ronnie lent his voice on her DUETS album. This bookend track finds Susie in porch swing mood. As the narrator looking sweet Old man Wrigley in the eye and asserting her own faith she believes he deserves a ticket to the other side.
PASSAGES is uplifting, soothes and comforts. HEALTH WARNING – This CD does the mind and heart good!