Flyinshoes Review

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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year

Rob Ellen

KATHY MATTEA - PRETTY BIRD (Captain Potato Records - Thirty Tigers)

Kathy Mattea made her name during the 1980s and 1990s on the mainstream Nashville country scene, and though the success was nice - that’s not to mention the four CMA Awards, Mattea has always enjoyed the less cluttered folky side of the business, not least songs that have stood the test of time and working with like-minded people. One of whom she had produce the record, Wheeling, West Virginia-born but now longtime Nashville resident multi-talented picker, singer-songwriter Tim O’Brien. O’Brien and Mattea go back a long way. To when she was just starting make early indents on the Billboard country chart (she enjoyed chart success with his songs Walk The Way The Wind Blows and Untold Stories). Mattea and her fellow states person come through with a dozen songs well suited to Mattea. Surprisingly, she has fears of her singing voice failing her as changes have taken part to her voice changing as she became older. 

While there’s a couple of songs I could have done without her inclusion of the timeless Bobbie Gentry classic Ode To Billie Joe, Mary Gautier’s Mercy Now and long friend Dougie MacLean’s This Love Will Carry are all first class selections. She even has the amiable Scot drop by to share vocals, and with the two blending perfectly a rare moment in the musical legacy of both is captured and, they aren’t the only ones inspired by the gorgeous lyrics for her guitarist Bill Cooley gets to spread his wings with some choice guitar. On hearing the track I feel a couple of full blown duets would have given the album even greater strength.

Mattea also does a splendid version of Martha Carson’s golden oldie I Can’t Stand Up Alone, and with an inspired musical arrangement that includes fiddle, banjo and harmony vocals the seasoned O’Brien and Mattea combine to deliver arguably the best version of the song other than of Carson’s. Likewise could be said of her take of bluegrass, folk legend Hazel Dickens’ Pretty Bird. Better still is The Wood Brother’s cleverly written Chocolate On My Tongue. It allows Mattea room to express herself more, and dare I say it roll back the years to make it into her own song! I look forward to Mattea making more music like this. 

Maurice Hope

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

The House Concert Hub community will use it for the purpose of providing a online, all singing all dancing, review and preview area for the music of the community, and the music community at large. Have a look around tell your friends use the share button, tell the world.

We need reviewers, the idea is we have a correspondents in every area of the musical global village, it will be edited and co-ordinated by Rob Ellen of Medicine Music publicist promoter and presenter, if you wish to subscribe as a correspondent, join up here and drop Rob a line, he will send you cd's and send you to shows, display and publicise your content.

Here starts an other adventure.

  Visit The House Concert European Hub (& Acoustic Music Club Network)



December 2018
Malford Milligan
75 pts.
Life Will Humble You
Royal Family Records
JD McPherson
61 pts.
New West Records
Rosanne Cash
50 pts.
She Remembers Everything
Blue Note Records
Ad Vanderveen
45 pts.
I Was Hank William
Blue Rose Records
John Hiatt
44 pts.
The Eclipse Sessions
New West
The Yearlings
41 pts.
Lonely Sounds Records
Tip Jar
40 pts.
Nathan Bell
39 pts.
Loves Bones & Stars
Angry Stick Recording Co.
The Brother Brothers
38 pts.
Some People I Know
Compass Records
Richard Dobson
30 pts.
I Hear Singing
Brambus Records
Steve Forbert
29 pts.
The Magic Tree
Blue Rose Music
J.P. Harris
28 pts.
Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
Free Dirt Records
The Bottle Rockets
24 pts.
Bit Logic
Bloodshot Records
Rodney Crowell
23 pts.
Christmas Everywhere
New West
Christian Kjellvander
22 pts.
Wild Hxmans
Erin Costelo
21 pts.
Sweet Marie
Compass Records
Colter Wall
20 pts.
Songs of the Plains
Young Mary's Record
The Hillbenders
19 pts.
The Hillbenders
Compass Records
Eric Bibb
18 pts.
Global Griot
Stony Plain
Karine Polwart
18 pts.
Laws of Motion
Hudson Records
Carson McHone
17 pts.
Nine Mile Records
Malcolm Holcombe
17 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Ben Bedford
16 pts.
The Hermit's Spyglass
Cavalier Recordings
Craig Moreau
16 pts.
A Different Kind Of Train
David Olney
16 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music

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