Willie, Way Back When

Crazy: The Demo Sessions –
Willie Nelson

With all of his success, it’s easy to forget that Willie was once a struggling singer and songwriter begging for notice in Nashville. This extraordinary release is a look back at Nelson in those troubled years.

Here, an unknown Willie sits in a small studio and records fresh compositions for his publishing company. The 15 songs, plus three hidden tracks, are a sad ride for the legend. “Opportunity To Cry” and “I’ve Just Destroyed the World” are quite the depression-makers. One should not forget that this project was never intended for the general public to hear, making it that much more special. The only song here that would become a signature hit is “Crazy,” which soon after this demo was cut by Patsy Cline – and the rest is history. C

I’m Just A Girl –
Deana Carter

Bare feet and all, Nashville native Deana Carter has resurrected herself after a four-year lapse with this dynamic disc. After divorcing both her husband (Chris) and record label (Capitol) in recent years, the 30-something blondie that broke out of the gate with 1996’s “Strawberry Wine” is back with a vengeance.

“There’s No Limit” is a groovin’ country rocker. The music video for this hit showcases a scantily clad Deana prancing around in underwear – ooh la la. Carter co-wrote and co-produced every track. Fellow crooner Dwight Yoakam joins in on “Waiting.” “Cover of A Magazine” is a crafty look at the lives women lead: “Man look at that rack/ Right next to the popcorn and the battery packs/ Am I supposed to be skinny or fat?” Other songs worth noting are “I’m Just A Girl” and “Eddie.” A-

Jennifer Hanson –
Jennifer Hanson

Her daddy worked for super group Alabama, and her hubby Mark Nesler has written and recorded his own hits. Now is the time for this talented beauty to shine independently. Hanson’s sound and voice can’t help but make you think of rocker Sheryl Crow, but Jen’s got a twang that’s all her own.

The debut single, “Beautiful Goodbye,” was a proven hit on country radio. Another cut that deserves a spin on the radio and in your rig is “This Far Gone,” a ballad reminiscent of Ronstadt. “Travis” is a heartfelt, emotional jerker that Hanson co-wrote. The freshman CD ends with the jazzy sound of “Simply Yours.” Simply put, Jennifer Hanson is a talented lady with a great supporting cast to propel her to many beautiful goodbyes. B+

Raisin’ de Roof –
Tommy Joe Breaux

Breaux est irresistible! Cajun comedian Tommy Joe has been leaving audiences in stitches for decades way down in crawfish country. With his clean, quick charm, Breaux has been a Cajun ambassador for the lifestyle and personalities of South Louisiana.

Y’all can learn all about Coo Coo Comeaux (dis boy ain’t correct), Poo Poo Arceneaux, (dis boy ain’t correct neither) and the other colorful characters in Breaux Bridge, La. Raisin’ de Roof contains 20 short snippets, including “At de Vatican,” where Elmo Breaux gets “blessed” by the Pope. “De Ambulance Drivers” and “Top 10 Mamas” are also quite joyeux! A fantastic, affordable companion for those long hauls. A