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Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Various Bluegrass, Blues and Jazz Albums
Review By Steven Stone
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Trey Hensley
Looking At My Future

Although he's only 18, Trey Hensley's musical style is as mature as any superstar country picker this side of Nashville. Trey not only wields a mean telecaster, but he writes fine tunes. The title track ranks right up there with great tearjerkers by the likes of Merle Haggard or Buck Owens. Trey's vocals also have that special something that separates great vocalists from also-rans. Trey Hensley may be running under the radar now, but this album should change that pronto.

 

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Mary Chapin Carpenter
Come Darkness, Come Light

Everyone needs a couple of "seasonal" albums in their collection for those times when the halls must be decked with holly.  Fortunately for those who've heard enough versions of "Oh Come All Yea Faithful" to last several lifetimes, only two of the songs on Come Darkness, Come Light are traditional songs. All the rest are new compositions, six by Carpenter herself, that capture the holiday season without sounding like musical Hallmark cards. Even the Grinch would enjoy this CD.

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Jeanette Williams
Thank You For Caring

On her eighth album Jeanette Williams has replaced her touring band with a veritable who's-who of bluegrass superstar pickers including Tony Rice, Tim Stafford and Aubrey Haynie. Despite the high-octane company Williams leads with her powerful voice and rhythmically precise phrasing. She can easily go from an upbeat number like "Bad Money" to a sweet ballad such as "Break The Chain" and sound completely at home on both. If you haven't heard Jeanette Williams before, Thank You For Caring makes a great place to start.

 

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Kenny & Amanda Smith Band
Live and Learn

Since the husband/wife team of Kenney and Amanda Smith started their own band in 2001 they have been creating heartfelt yet carefully polished bluegrass albums. Their last release garnered a Grammy nomination, and Live and Learn should also be a strong award contender. Featuring Kenny's solid rhythm and hot lead guitar, Amanda's powerful lead vocals, and their perfectly textured harmony singing, this CD further defines their unique brand of bluegrass music. One listen will hook you.

 

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Valerie Smith & Becky Buller
Here's A Little Song
Bell Buckle Records BBR-021

Valerie Smith and Becky Buller have been playing together in a band, Liberty Pike, for years. But Here's A Little Song is their first album dedicated to duets. In the tradition of "brother acts" such as the Everlys and the Louvins, Smith and Buller's duel lead vocals spiral around each other like they were born to sing together. On their acapella song "Cotton Mill" each vocalist contributes two tracks, making their duo into a heavenly quartet.

 

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