Sweethearts of the Rodeo – Restless

by Chuck Dauphin

If you go back to the mid 1980s, you would find that country radio as at its’ most adventurous level. You had legends like Haggard, Twitty, and Jones still notching hit records, as well as mainstream acts like Alabama, George Strait, and Reba McEntire. You also had acts such as Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle that were not just critical darlings, but radio favorites, as well.

One of those acts, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, was a welcome addition to the radio airwaves at the time. Their harmonies on such records as “Midnight Girl” and “Satisfy You” were nothing less than spellbinding, and they were one of the most respected acts in the format. Were they Country? Were they Folk? Though the lines were somewhat blurry, they definitely carved out a successful niche.

Back with their first album in some time, Janis Oliver and Kristine Arnold sound like little time has passed since those Columbia recordings back in the mid to late 1980s. Cuts such as “Gone To Kentucky” and “You Can’t Hold Me Back” showcase those harmonies very effectively. On the latter, producer Dave Pomeroy showcases the ladies with an arrangement that is very haunting, giving the harmonies an ever clearer showcase.

Restless also shows how adept the Sweethearts remain at handling different sounds and styles. There’s a rockin sound to the title cut, as well as “Too Little Too Late” that the ladies handle as well as ever, and they delve into the romantic into the hopeful “Maybe Tonight.”

Other highlights on the album include the soulful “What Does Love Mean To You” and the stunner “Hopeless Rose,” which is one of the best-written cuts on the disc. Then again, if a writing credit included Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander, and the extremely gifted Ashley Monroe, I think it would be a safe bet that track would be a highlight. All in all, an album that would sound right at home with their finest work. It sounds like time has stood still!

For more information, log on to www.SweetheartsOfTheRodeo.com

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