Couple Mixes True Love and Music

I Finally Found Someone –
Lorrie Morgan & Sammy Kershaw

Showbiz’s hottest couple! For years, we have heard rumors that something was going on between Nashville’s Catholic connection. The couple spent two decades waiting to record an album. Between the two singers, you’ll find seven platinum albums and an 18-wheeler full of hit songs. The two first met in Sammy’s home area of Lafayette, La., in 1981 when the blonde beauty was touring as George Jones’ opening act.

These days, Sammy and Lorrie are a romantic and musical duet. The nastiest divorce case in recent Music City memory just ended, with a Nashville judge awarding Kershaw’s ex-wife $4,000 a month alimony and $6,000 a month child support. The ruling was based on Kershaw’s affair with Morgan. Ouch! Back to the album – you’ll discover a wealth of great music. Surprisingly, three of the 12 cuts were written by one of the two singers, including “That’s Where I’ll Be,” which they wrote together. Spliced in the duet mix are several solo songs, including the groovy “Sugar,” written and performed by Kershaw. The title cut is a country version of a Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams duet.
Grade: B

Nobody’s Got It All –
John Anderson

From hammering shingles on the roof of the Grand Ole Opry house as a struggling wannabe singer, to hammering out hits in the ’80s and ’90s, John Anderson is ready to get going on his third decade of hits. With the year 2001, Anderson’s got a new major label behind him – Columbia Records. You may remember a few of the Floridian’s hits through the years: “Swingin’,” “Black Sheep,” “Money In The Bank” and “Seminole Wind.”

Anderson’s easygoing style and voice make him a great asset. In the opener, “You Ain’t Hurt Nothin’ Yet,” he contends that broken bones and a high fever are miniscule afflictions compared with the pain of a broken heart. Fellow artist Eric Heatherly’s song “The Call,” an emotional ballad, is mastered beautifully by John’s pipes. A song that’s been around a few years, “Five Generations of Rock County Wilsons,” which rails against a family’s land being torn up and paved over, may finally be a hit thanks to John. Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” is a neat addition to this already great CD. Welcome back, John!
Grade: A

Living in Black and White –
Eddy Raven

Here’s another man who’s been missing in action from the charts for a while. The typical path for former hitmakers is to re-record their hits and sell them on an infomercial. Eddy Raven’s “Living In Black And White” is a break from the ordinary. Raven, a consistent hit maker in the pre-Garth ’80s, was one of the biggest artists in the Reagan decade – scoring hits like “I Got Mexico,” “In A Letter To You” and “Joe Knows How To Live.”

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The Louisiana Cajun’s new masterpiece is a compilation of all new tunes that fit admirably within the context of his best-known work. Throughout his stardom, Raven has mixed his contemporary country with the sounds of his native state, as well as the Caribbean, Mexico and other Dixie styles. On this record, “Blue Cajun Moon” and “Hearing It In French” draw on his Cajun background. The fabulous Buckwheat Zydeco joins the 56-year-old star on “New Orleans Is A Mighty Good Town.” The title track’s got a South Carolina shag groove, which will lead you to the dance floor. Thank goodness artists like Eddy Raven didn’t give up on making new music. In a time in which country music is stagnant, we need these veterans to step up to the plate and hit home runs.
Grade: B+

Steers & Stripes –
Brooks & Dunn

They’ve sold 22 million albums, garnered 18 No. 1 hits and have even been named Entertainer of the Year. What gives? The liner notes for the duo’s eighth album is masterfully done in the style of a program for an Old West play. The playing on the actual CD isn’t bad, either.

Fourteen songs are here, and they cover the gamut. “The Long Good-Bye” is a dramatic tangle of knowing when the end has come. An interesting twist to this project are the additions of lust, sex and abandon. As Ronnie so eloquently put it, “Heck, even Willie Nelson admitted he picked up a guitar to get girls! Music always has that dangerous element of seduction to it, which keeps you on edge all the time.” Those feelings shine on “The Last Thing I Do,” with a little vocal help from Trisha Yearwood. The leadoff single, “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You,” is a foot stomping heck raiser. Like fine wine, these boys are only getting better!
Grade: A-

Echoes Of The Stanley Brothers –
Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys

Ralph Stanley, seven decades strong in the music business, has seen his career skyrocket in recent months. The hit film “O Brother Where Art Thou?” features two of his songs on the soundtrack. This album, recorded in 1971, features future country legends Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs. Whitley sings and plays guitar here, while fellow Kentuckian Skaggs picks on the mandolin and chimes in with his high octave voice.

Bluegrass is a music that is tragically filled, so it’s not surprising that two of the five Clinch Mountain Boys met untimely deaths. Guitarist Roy Lee Centers was shot twice in the head during a 1974 fight, and Whitley died of an alcohol overdose in 1989. Despite the hardship, great music is what you’ll find here. The disc is a combination of two previous albums, “Michigan Bluegrass” and “Sing Gospel Echoes Of The Stanley Brothers.” All 24 songs appear on CD for the first time. Some of the diamonds in the rough are “Are You Proud Of America?” “Buckwheat” and “Leaning On The Everlasting Arm (Leaning On Jesus).”
Grade: B-