Western and Country

August 2, 2016 - Five New Winners by Jeff Burger

I’ve been working my way through a big pile of recent album releases and separating the rejects from the keepers. Here’s a look at some of the CDs that made the cut.

Dennis Jay, Western & Country.

Dennis Jay has the sort of deep, emotive voice that exudes authenticity and commands attention. This aptly titled collection is pure country but doesn’t have all that much to do with Nashville. You can hear a bit of the Bakersfield sound, a hint of Tex-Mex, some Western swing, and a good deal of the pop-friendly approach of Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves. Pedal-steel player Lloyd Maines (father of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines) produced and leads the consummate backup crew, which spices Jay’s vocals with fiddle, banjo, accordion, and more. Highlights include “The Thorns of Your Roses,” a beguiling duet with Austin, Texas-based Lisa Gamache, and a reading of the cowboy standard, “Streets of Laredo.”

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