by Rick Moore
There aren’t many of them left, country artists who ruled the airwaves from the 1950s through the 1970s, singers who may have changed horses as the decades passed but who never really left the corral. Singers like Ray Price, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins…they’re mostly gone now. But Jim Ed Brown is still around, and he continues to carry the traditional country torch with his new album In Style Again.
With his sisters in The Browns, as a solo artist, and with duet partner Helen Cornelius, Brown was famous for a smooth vocal style and everyman songs aimed at the common listener, and he wisely doesn’t try to change what made him famous on this album. While the title track (produced by Bobby Bare) was written by a couple writers who are decades younger than Brown (Lance Miller and Austin Cunningham), the song is appropriate for a singer of any age, and Brown couldn’t have made a better choice in picking it. In addition to songs by legendary writers like Cindy Walker and Bill Anderson, several of the songs here were written by producer/songwriter/historian Don Cusic, and they are as tailor-made for Brown’s approach as any songs could possibly be. And Brown and former duet partner Helen Cornelius absolutely kill on a version of the Carl Butler and Pearl 1962 hit “Don’t Let Me Cross Over,” delivering a great version of a song that is timeless and universally relevant.
With great traditional country production, and a backing group of session men who have played for everyone from Cash to Charlie Louvin, In Style Again is an album that everyone on Nashville’s Music Row should listen to so they can see what to aspire to, to see what a living legend sounds like. Because that’s what Jim Ed Brown is. This recording will no doubt be one of the year’s most memorable albums of any genre.
For more, visit www.jimedbrown.com
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