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Suzi Ragsdale
Best Regards / Less of the Same

Review By Steven Stone

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  Suzi Ragsdale's name has appeared in the credits of some of my favorite albums. She's sung backup for the likes of Suzy Bogguss, Randy Travis, Guy Clark, Darrell Scott, and even Hank Williams Jr. Her father is the Nashville legend, singer/songwriter Ray Stevens. She debuted professionally at the ripe old age of five on her father's Grammy Award-winning song "Everything is Beautiful." By age 13 she was singing on demos, and by 17 she was regularly gigging in clubs in Nashville.

Best Regards/Less of the Same has two titles because the album has two CDs. Each CD has six tracks, so the material on both CDs could have been put onto only one CD. The music isn't radically different, but Best Regards contains only Ragsdale's original songs while Less of The Same's song roster has a Darrell Scott tune as well as a pair of songs Suzi co-wrote with Verlon Thompson.

Ragsdale's original songs, such as "My One B Only Valentine," display a well-polished flair. It's no wonder that Anne Murray, Pam Tillis, Lari White, and even the rock act Nelson, have recorded her tunes. The title song, "Less of the Same," is more rock than country or pop. I could easily imagine it in the hands of The Police or done up arena-rocker style by Pat Benatar.

Unlike many vocalists, who have a certain kind of voice country, rock, folky; Ragsdale's vocals are chameleon-like. She can go from blues belter to smooth pop chanteuse in a heartbeat. Duets with Gabe Dixon and Rodney Crowell demonstrate the breadth of her vocal flexibility. With Dixon Ragsdale bends her voice so it melds with his perfectly, while with Crowell she maintains a radically different vocal texture to differentiate their parts. But regardless of which track you listen to, Ragsdale's musicianship and consummate professionalism comes to the top like fresh cream added to black coffee.

 

 

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