by Janet Goodman
Ironically, there’s got to be something in the cold waters of our northern neighbors that explains the level of hot musical talent coming out of Canada over the years. Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, and Emerson Drive are just a handful of their country artists who have made the transition from solely Canadian to be embraced as Nashville’s own. RyLee Madison is a Halifax, Nova Scotia singer/songwriter who recently made the big move to Music City. She has had a string of eight singles at Canadian country radio, and now aims to make a statement here…and she has the pipes to do it.
With her fourth album release, “Where Does the Time Go,” Madison shows her mad singing chops to America, as well as her contemporary country songwriting skills. She knows how to deliver her songs in a clear, committed voice; her lower range and energy are so reminiscent of early Jo Dee Messina. It’s been five years between albums, and Madison bursts forth like some snowbound pony come spring.
This album is produced by Madison, along with busy session-and-tour-bass-player husband Clay Krasner. Together, they’ve assembled eleven solid tracks written or co-written by the artist, and there’s no fluff to be found. Hers are lyrics with a message, as in “Be Yourself,” and her banjo and organ-driven, “The Beauty of Forgiveness”: “It can mend the broken/Bring the fight to an end/Give you reason for believin’/That an enemy could be your friend/So take the high road/Lay down your pride/You might find that they’re feelin’/The same on the other side.”
There’s no doubt this record is located in the country music solar system of things, yet there are occasional flare-ups of other genres, such as the see-ya-honey sassy Texas Swing, “Run” and the charmed Celtic-arranged “Salt in the Air,” with fiddle and tin whistle, it’s a homesick homage to her homeland. A duet with Christian artist David Huff (David & The Giants), “Plenty of Angels,” sends off the record with a zing…and a prayer.
Madison interprets head-nodding melodies with devastating heart (“December Leave Me Alone”), as well as easy-going kind of conviction (“It Can’t Be That Bad”). Country band Due West joins her on the title track to help round out what is a top-notch Nashville debut.
Visit the artist’s web site at www.ryleemadison.com
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