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Music Review - `The Long Road Home ` by Kevin Deal (bm)

Kevin Deal - The Long Road Home  (click on image to watch video)

 21 April 2019



Texas country singer and songwriter Kevin Deal’s album The Long Road Home shares his love of regional music traditions and his Christian faith across 14 new recordings.

Deal, a veteran recording artist and collaborator with Lloyd Maines (the father of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines), takes it slow on his musical lamentation of self-destruction, “If You Can’t Put It Down”—a PSA of sorts against alcohol and other vices. He broods a little with “A Reckoning,” a gloomy tale of sin’s wages that could’ve suited Johnny Cash’s American Recordings output. Speaking of Cash, Deal also acknowledges his inspirations with covers of “Ring of Fire” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

It’s not all doom and gloom, with “Broken Upon the Rock” capturing the foot-stomping church music that’s always paired well with Hellfire and brimstone preaching. Likewise, “Keeping the Faith” champions the Christian life as a means of continuous comfort in a troubled word. Instead of just covering a few familiar hymns or songs of praise, Deal goes in-depth as to why religion helps him maneuver through our current socio-political situation.

Throughout the album, Deal celebrates the interlocking worlds of country, folk, Americana and gospel music as unmatched means to share feelings of love, loss, regret and redemption. These universal themes face us all, with or without the benefit of personal faith or a creative outlet to help cope with the negatives and shout hallelujah over the positives. Just like the Maines family and other mainstays of Texas music, Deal relates to others’ emotions through stories that’re personalized yet relatable. 


Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore








Hits: 253

Music Review - `That Kinda Guy ` by Mike Dekle (bm)

Mike Dekle - That Kinda Guy  (click on image to watch video)

 8 April 2019



Athens, Ga.-based songwriter Mike Dekle’s career spans multiple decades and has impacted different styles of country music. Pop-accessible stars (Kenny Rogers), living legends (Hank Thompson) and throwbacks to simpler times (Keith Whitley) pointed a wider audience to his songs in the ‘80s. Since then, the mainstream’s changing tides kept him afloat through recordings by the likes of Tracy Byrd, Joe Nichols and fellow Georgians Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert.

New album That Kinda Guy, named after one of Dekle’s co-writes with Ford and Tyler Farr, celebrates his 21 st century team-ups with country rappers and pop-country products of his home state. Rest assured that these stripped-down takes highlight a well-versed lyricist without the pitfalls of modern production, so don’t flee if you’re not exactly in Ford and Gilbert’s target audience. Besides, the album proves Gilbert’s talents as a co-writer with the ‘90s country flashback “Like I Don’t Have a Care,” which sounds like old Tim McGraw in the best possible way.

Standout cuts include the regret-filled “Too Many Too’s,” the playful “That’s What She Said,” the spiritually uplifting “Music’s What I See” and twangy trip down memory lane “God Made a Farmer.”

These tracks and others reflect the storytelling range of a veteran songwriter with a talented cast of collaborators, including Brantley’s guitarist Jess Franklin and rising solo star Danielle Johnson. Like his music, Dekle’s career reflects different touchstones in modern country music history. After years of trips to Nashville and stacks of rejected demo tapes, Dekle befriended Roger Bowling, writer of “Coward of the County” and other hits. In 21 st century terms, real recognized real, with Bowling’s friendship and a similar partnership with writer/producer Byron Hill positioning Dekle’s song “Scarlet Fever” to become a top five hit for Rogers.

Considering that the pickiest country music fans tend to love songwriters to the stars (Jamey Johnson, Brandy Clark, etc.), this 18-song collection should suit CD collections built on either country hits or Americana underdogs.


Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore







Hits: 589

Music Review - `Rambler Pacifico` by Matt Ellis (bm)

Matt Ellis - Rambler Pacifico  (click on image to watch video)

 04  March 2019



California-via-Australia rocker Matt Ellis harnesses Laurel Canyon conviction and Heartland heart on his latest full-length album, Rambler Pacifico. That’s not to paint it as a nostalgia trip, as Ellis selflessly shares more than his musical tastes on this deeply introspective set of songs.

His latest collection of honest-to-goodness folk-rock tunes begins with the whip-smart “Isolationist Blues.” It teases an album that honors past sounds without ignoring our current socio-political situation. This political stance transcends partisan saber-rattling and revives the common man protagonist from so many Country, Folk and Rock songs.

From there, hometown headlines get co-opted for “Some People,” “The Kids of America” and other songs grounded in personal beliefs and propelled by rock energy.

It’s not just a political rallying cry, as Ellis sometimes turns the lens on himself. The peak of his lyrical introspection, “Oh My Magnolia,” features wife Vavine as Ellis’ duet partner. Together, the couple shares a deeply personal story written for their infant daughter. Vavine was 39 weeks pregnant when she cut her vocals for the song.

Although Ellis mostly concerns himself with the here-and-now, he pays homage to the greats with a cover of Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes’ “If I Had a Hammer.” The advance single pairs Ellis with guest vocalist Kam Franklin of The Suffers. Together, the duet partners blend Ellis’ spiffed-up take on Laurel Canyon folk-rock with the timeless message of a worker’s anthem.

In all, Ellis adds to the forward-thinking, tradition-honoring Americana fray—not with outsider country music, but with a sound that’s more akin to the blue-collar storytelling of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and others known equally with folksy brains and rock brawn.


Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore







Hits: 1334

Music Review - `Dream Girl` by Juliet Simmons Dinallo (bm)

Juliet Simmons Dinallo  - Dream Girl (click on image to watch video)

 16 March 2019



Boston-bred, Berklee-trained country artist Juliet Simmons Dinallo navigates the music of her new stomping ground, Nashville, on Dream Girl.

Simmons Dinallo didn’t stick with one strand of country music while cutting this album alongside producers Michael Dinallo and Ducky Carlisle— known in part for their work with Stax legend Eddie Floyd (“Knock on Wood”). Instead, she spans the timeline of pop-accessible yet tradition-honoring trends. The sunshiny title track sounds like a more grown-up take on the Everly Brothers’ teen-accessible vision of country music. She also hat-tips the Nashville Sound with the lush strings that introduce “Someone For You.” Harmonious, old-time singalongs “Fly (a Prayer for Sandy Hook)” and “Moonshine and Sweet Tea” resemble Emmylou Harris’ bluegrass phase from the early ‘80s. The album even celebrates ‘90s country’s stadium-packing anthems with “Tennessee” and “Until I Go.”

The supporting cast includes mandolin, fiddle and banjo player Tim Carter, a North Carolina native with ties to the famous Carter family. He’s played for years with his brother, Danny Carter, in the Carter Brothers Band.

In all, the follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed No Regrets adds personal touches to timeless sounds from the great state of Tennessee. It’s yet another worthwhile road map for songwriters interested in crossing individuality with the Country Music Hall of Fame’s creed: “honor thy music.”



Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore







Hits: 573

Music Review - `Hearty` by Roger Salloom (bm)

Roger Salloom - Hearty  (click on image to watch video)

 9 March 2019



Think of Roger Salloom’s new album Hearty as a survey course on how folk songs and the blues have long served as voices of underserved Americans.

At times, Salloom sounds like a folk troubadour, begging for common sense to make a comeback. This comes across on field-recorded acoustic opener “Not Here Nor Anywhere,” Heartland rocker “Don’t Let My Country Wash Away” and a team-up with Underhill Rose on the Woody Guthrie classic “Deportee.” Each portrays a critical thinker, more interested in freedom of the press and general human decency than partisan saber-rattling.

On other songs, he gets the blues, from a cover of jazz guitar pioneer Lonnie Johnson’s “Jelly Roll Baker” to the pop swing of “Knock Me a Kiss.” Together, these songs represent the enriching and entertaining sides of rock’s jazz and blues predecessors. He also moves forward in the roots music timeline by mixing some rhythm with his blues for a cover of “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.” 

A song that fits neither category, “Haunted at Midnight,” sounds more like a pop-jazz odyssey than a folk ballad or blues side. The standout track captures both the lyrical strength of Salloom’s socio-political commentaries and that unshakable feeling from his bluesy tunes that you’re listening in as a seasoned musician cuts an album with several of his talented friends.


Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore







Hits: 489

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