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Music Review - `Ain't That A Cheyne` by Junior Cheyne (jh)

Junior Cheyne -  Ain't That A Cheyne (click on image to watch video)

01 July 2019 


We need to get a couple of things straight first. Junior Cheyne is the name of a band, not a person. The intended clever, but perhaps the corny title, is a takeoff on a tune from the late Fats Domino, leading one to perhaps read in some R&B and blues, of which there is none. This is a self-proclaimed country album from a group of four – Lucky Fontana, Precious Blue, Billie Carton, and Ori Ordonez. The album jacket has this statement – “We’re racing to the rescue, wipers on and b. s. detectors set to steer us clear of the Nashville Music Police. We have our foot on the pedal and it’s pressed to the metal and we’re driving to save Country Music, one song at a time.”  Interestingly, they call on one of Nashville’s legendary figures (from an era when Nashville music was acceptable to them) in harmonicist Charlie McCoy, who plays harmonica, bass harmonica and vibes on three tracks.

Okay, now that we’ve dealt with any possible misconceptions, let’s see whether they stay true to their rather lofty mission. What’s missing in today’s commercial world of radio-friendly country music are songs that talk about anything other than drinking, good times, and innocuous love, with a few cheating songs in there for good measure. Junior Cheyne starts with a string of songs, especially the welcome to adulthood “Stand Up and Crawl” that beckons the listener to examine the lyrics. The others in the first half are not quite as strong but do a commendable job of upholding their “damn, we’re going to prove it to you” philosophy – “Out of Gas,” “Girl from the Last Century,” “The Most Dangerous Song in the World,” and, of course, “You Won’t Like Country Music (If You’ve Never Cried).”

Their songs are melodic and generally uplifting as with the pulsating “Eyes of a Child.” “Night Is Woman,” does however show that they can capture the sadness that accompanies loneliness. They deliver many concise, solid three-minute radio-friendly songs, with the danceable closer, “You Got Me) Dead Cold to Rights” as just one shining example.

They do mostly pure country with echoes of country’s classic era in the ‘70s and early ‘80s without outlaw music.  While they may be rebelling in spirit, but songs like “Intimacy,” “Close Enough for Jazz” and “While Texas Sleeps (Austin’s Running Wild),” the latter evoking the western swing of  Asleep at the Wheel,  reveal a sound that fits with Americana and folk fare. It’s just additional proof that this band is bent on delivering solid songcraft, as much as restoring the guiding principles of solid country music. In that sense, they’ve done their mission proud. 


Jim Hynes



Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here




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