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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Heidi Howe

Be Good

Review by Gary Hill

I suppose country music would be a pretty easy way to describe this. It’s pretty accurate. The thing is, there are other musical styles here. And, Heidi Howe’s voice, while definitely feeling country oriented, bears quite a bit of resemblance to Stevie Nicks. I think one could say that her voice really sells this. She’s incredible. But, that kind of downplays the strength of the music. This is really a complete package. She’s just such a talent that she makes it feel like the music takes the back-seat.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Kind of Crazy

Howe’s voice opens this tune. It’s strong and has a great old school country sound to it. This is classic. The music that joins reinforces this. It lands on the folk side of country music, but it’s definitely country music. In some ways, Howe’s voice makes me think of Stevie Nicks and the music to this reminds me of some of the acoustic based folky stuff done by Fleetwood Mac with Nicks singing.

Ruin Me
Here we get a much mellower tune. It’s got the same general reference points, but this is a slow, thoughtful ballad. It’s quite pretty.
I'm Done
The intricate bluegrass arrangement on this is just great. It’s another side of the same musical concept. This is a little more rocking in some ways, with an angry vibe to it. Still, it’s acoustic and old school in nature and delivery. The backing vocals bring a little soul to the table and the slide guitar solo lends some blues to the mix. I also like the retro organ sound.
Alright

There is a bit more of a modern edge to this, but otherwise it’s still in keeping with the type of sound presented throughout here. It’s another strong tune that shows more variety while portraying consistency.

Go Back
The musical concepts stay true, but this is an electrified arrangement. It’s also quite cool. It reminds me a bit of Lone Justice in some ways.
The Ramones and George Jones

Although musically this is pure country music, the lyrical references to The Ramones lend another angle here. This is one of my favorite tunes of the set. It’s energetic and fun.

Stand

A slower, mellower cut, this one does a great job of blending classic country with the modern variety. It’s another winner on a disc full of winners.

Souvenir

Another mellower tune, there is a decent amount of rock in the mix on this one. Still, there are enough pure country elements (particularly the slide guitar and the vocals) to keep it in that category.

Be Good

The title track has a real down-home, old time country vibe to it. It’s a killer tune and I love the arrangement.

Stronger than My Love

There are definitely classic rock elements at play here. The cut is another great country tune overall.

Ryan Adams Can

The closer is a tasty down home country tune.

 
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