Author Archives: ChuckDauphin

MacLear & Waters – Self Titled

There are a ton of talented new acts out there, which kind of makes it frustrating because you know there’s not a slot for everybody. That being said, I would definitely clear a place at the table for this very talented duo comprised of Tom MacLear and Heather Waters. They possess a harmony blend that definitely has a little bit of a Pop / Rock edge, but make no mistake, this is definitely Contemporary Country, as…
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Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins – Traditional Duets

Sometimes, things are exactly as they appear to be. In the case of Lynda Dawson and Pattie Hopkins, that turns out to be the case. The name of the album is Traditional Duets. And, from beginning to end, that’s exactly what you get. These songs have been part of the American consciousness for years, and the talented duo wisely sees no need to try to reinvent the wheel. Songs like “Long Time Gone” and…
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Amy LaVere – Runaway’s Diary

Michigan native Amy LaVere has quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed artists on the musical landscape as of late – and with good reason. She sings and she writes from a place that is very much real – drawing on her own experiences for inspiration. In fact, several of these songs were drawn from the singer’s past, where she and a friend rode a bus from Detroit to Chicago. You can hear some…
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Dale Watson – The Truckin’ Sessions

Dale Watson is one of those singers that is identifiable from the moment you first hear him sing. His music is for that audience that feels that Country Music has changed. In fact, if you were to ask Watson, he doesn’t even label himself as a “Country” performer anymore. Rather, he calls the style of music he does “Ameripolitan.” For his current project, Watson has assembled two of his previous discs -The Truckin…
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John Hiatt – Terms Of My Surrender

Question – What do Kenny Rogers, Rosanne Cash, Paula Abdul, and B.B. King have in common? The answer is they have each recorded a song from the ever-flowing well of John Hiatt. The Indiana native’s talent has touched many over the years – as both a tunesmith and as a performer. Hiatt returns with a new album that is sure to leave his fan base satisfied, and could also serve as an introduction as to…
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Carissa Leigh – The Blackbird EP

Spend any amount of time with newcomer Carissa Leigh, and you will come away enchanted with her playful personality, stunning good looks – and her vocal talent. The Canadian has been making waves as of late with her seductive single “Bad Boy,” which definitely alludes to that playful side. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg to this woman’s amazing charisma and vocal talent. The rest of this EP – recorded at John…
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The Pfeiffer Twins – Nobody’s Puppet

Wow. I don’t know if I have ever started a review off with simply one word before. However, in the case of the Pfeiffer Twins, it applies. I will forewarn you. This is one of those reviews where I gush. There’s no flaws about this record. The vocals, the writing, the instrumentation – it’s all ‘through the roof’ good – whatever that means. Comprised of sisters Lindsay and Carrie, this album is chock-full of air tight harmonies…
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Robby Hecht – Self Titled

Sometimes, the words don’t flow for me as easily as you might think. I’ve been doing this in one form or another for close to twenty-five years, and some albums are a little easier to describe than others. That being said, I’ve actually sat on this one for a little bit. I don’t think things have to be put in a 4+4 box to be relatable, but it just kind of stumped me musically. Or, maybe I just wasn’t ready to fully listen something that…
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Marianne Allison – Till It Breaks My Heart

Based in Mississippi, Marianne Allison turned a lot of ears and heads earlier this year with the release of “Till It Breaks My Heart.” Reminiscent of what Norah Jones might have sounded like as a traditional based female vocalist in the 1980s. The song showcased a very powerful and moody vocal, and garnered the songstress some well-deserved attention. Now, with a full album, there is evidence that there…
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Sammy Kershaw – Do You Know Me (A Tribute To George Jones)

The first time Sammy Kershaw came into contact with George Jones, he was fourteen years old. The year was 1970. The singer remembers watching “The Possum” stroll in backstage of the venue wearing one of the most captivating pair of blue cowboy boots he had ever seen. However, the shoes didn’t make the man. What left a lasting impact with Kershaw – and what still affects him the most forty-four years later was…
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Mikaela Davis – Fortune Teller

Some people are just naturals at what they do. Brett Favre knew he wanted to play football from an early age. Same with Michael Jordan at basketball. For New York native Mikaela Davis, the fire began very early as well. At the age of eight, she began to study the harp with Grace Wong, principal harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. So, you know that her musical talent has always been there. But, this is a…
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Girls, Guns and Glory – Good Luck

When you listen to “All The Way Up To Heaven,” the opening cut from this disc, the last place you would think that Girls, Guns, and Glory might be from is Boston. The track has such an old school Country sound that it just doesn’t mesh with the land of clam chowder. But, as are many things about this band, appearances can be misleading. And, so can first impressions. The group segues quite effectively into…
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The Hello Strangers – Self Titled

Music has changed a lot to my ears over the years. When I was growing up, the lines between genres were very decided and kind of easy to decipher. Nowadays. it’s not that simple. What was “Country,” back in 1988 might still be Country, but it might also be known as Americana. That’s where you have The Hello Strangers. Hailing from Pennsylvania, the sister duo of Larissa Chace Smith and Brechyn certainly wouldn’t have been…
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Joey+Rory – Country Classics

OK. The publicists were right. (As every PR rep in town picks their chin off the floor!) For a long time, the duo of Joey+Rory confused me a little. Not talent-wise – they are two of the finest singer-songwriters in the business. Not from a personal level, as you would be hard pressed to find any act who is more genuine and real than either one of them. But the name. I would get the email after a story posted saying “There is no space…
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Flatt Lonesome – Too

I found myself smiling within the first thirty seconds of the new CD from sibling group Flatt Lonesome. What makes that fact all the more interesting is the song is not one that you would normally break out into laughter about – a true breakup song. But, what reels you in and hooks you is the incredible harmonies possessed by this very talented family named Robinson. Sister Charli’s soaring lead vocals take precedence
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Dallas Smith – Tippin’ Point

After fronting the popular Rock group Default for many years, Dallas Smith has made somewhat of a musical shift – taking his music in a modern Country direction. For this move, he surrounded himself with one of the top producers in the business in Joey Moi – who has taken the careers of Florida Georgia Line and Jake Owen to new heights. That fresh and current sound is very much evident on this disc, with “A Girl Like You” being the…
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The Henry Girls – Louder Than Words

Get ready to listen, folks, because this is something special. And, no – that has nothing to do with the writer. Every now and then, you run across something so uniquely different that you just have to shout it from the mountaintops. The Henry Girls are one of those musical acts that you just want to tell people about – as many as you can. Natives of Ireland, their style has been described as a mixture of Folk and Americana. I will buy…
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Dan Cohen – Bluebird

Veteran sideman / musician Dan Cohen has already achieved plenty of milestones in his career. He has played the stage of the heralded Ryman Auditorium, played behind some of the biggest acts in the business, and written with many of the most talented songwriters in Music City. So, with all that, you might expect his latest disc to be a great Country disc. Well, you’d be wrong. For all of his ties to Nashville artists and…
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Lucy Hale – Road Between

Known as “Aria” on the hit TV series Pretty Little Liars, Lucy Hale has already made a name for herself in the world of entertainment. That being said, the Memphis native wanted a chance to show her talent in her first love – music. It’s something of an understatement, but she makes her mark – and then some. Hale possesses a vocal range and a musical maturity that extends far beyond her twenty-five years. That…
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The Loudermilks – Self Titled

If you are a student of music history, you might know that the Louvin Brothers’ real last name was Loudermilk. This five-piece band, based in North Carolina, is very familiar with that fact, and took their name as a tribute to the tight and pristine harmonies from Ira and Charlie. On their album, you will find plenty of the same – though the music is very much different – a little more rock-influences at some spots, with even a hint…
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