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Laura Cantrell
Albums

  • Not The Tremblin Kind,
  • When The Roses Bloom Again,
  • Humming By The Flowered Vine,
  • Trains And Boats And Planes,
  • Kitty Wells Dresses,








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Laura Cantrell

    Not The Tremblin Kind 9 ( 2000 )
    Not The Tremblin Kind / Little Bit Of You / Queen Of The Coast / Pile Of Woe / Two Seconds / Churches Off The Interstate / The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter / Do You Ever Think Of Me / Big Wheel / My Heart Goes Out To You / Somewhere, Some Night / The Way It Is

    Country music with a big heart. This is real country music! This isn't Dolly Parton, this is the heart and soul of country music. This is GOOD music! This is Laura Cantrell, radio DJ and country singer songwriter. Around half of the songs here are hers and they are all good! The covers are well chosen. Take second song, 'Little Bit Of You' - the first moment on the record where her voice manages to send a chill up your spine. A wonderful vocal performance. We have Melodica, guitar, harmony vocals, mandolin. The music seems to back her up perfectly. The sound of the record is its most wonderful feature. Not overproduced at all, it sounds very real and warming. It warms my heart, anyway. A fabulous record. We have 'Queen Of The Coast' - a highlight here and one of her own songs. It's simply a stupendously brilliant thing of wonder. I've never heard country music like this before. It always sounded a bit corny to me, personally. I like Gram Parsons. That's as near to country music as I get. This is country music though. I mean, its not anything else. The thing is, its country music that can appeal to everybody. You can like death metal and also like this! Really! Why? How? Because its so damn affecting! 'She did washing and ironing and picking up....' and its the way its sung and the perfect musical backing, never overplayed. The haunting pedal steel guitar!

    'Pile Of Woe' both sounds more typical country and also less typical country both at the same time. Its something to do with the way this album has been recorded. It sounds like its been put together with very little money behind it, no thought at all to selling records. It sounds like its been put together for the sheer love of the music. And, it shines through. If you ever wondered why people love country music, this record amply displays why and so much more. It isn't the kind of music you will hear on country radio stations however. And, very few truckers are ever likely to play this! Alternative country, I suppose. 'Two Seconds' is another Laura Cantrell moment of impossible beautiful. The vocals are just so spine chilling wonderful and they make me cry every time. EVERY TIME. That's just me, maybe. I'm a silly, soppy kind of a guy. 'Churches Of The Interstate' is an up-tempo Laura Cantrell original and it makes you feel glad to be alive. The guitar is so happy sounding and the voice of hers....its just so human sounding. It sounds like she’s stood right next to you, singing for you. And, that's just half the album over. I would have given this a perfect ten if it were not for the fact the second side is less thrilling than the first all round. Tasteful is the word. Her voice still shines and the atmosphere still sends chills up and down your spine. It is still wonderful music. Just not quite as transcendental as the first side of songs. 'My Heart Goes Out To You' is another Laura Cantrell original though and very affecting. All in all, a wonderful album. She really deserves to be a star, though the world being the way it is, she probably won't be. A brilliant record. Enough said. I'm going off to listen to it again.

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    Readers Comments

    David Johnstone
    Parton is actually a tunesmith of the first rate, an outstanding lyricist and and an amazing singer. Although she does not always get it right your comments here show a little ignorance in the genre. Recommend: Joshua 1970. Agree that Laura Cantrell has produced something special here.


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    When The Roses Bloom Again 8 ( 2002 )
    Too Late For Tonight / All The Same To You / Early Years / Don't Break The Heart / Wait / Mountain Fern / Vaguest Idea / Yonder Comes A Freight Train / Broken Again / When The Roses Bloom Again / Conquerors Song / Oh So Many Years

    When I saw Laura Cantrell had released another album, I was almost too excited to buy it, I was. I got it home, tore off the wrapper.... sorry, I was just starting to get a little too excited! I played it, and soon realized she'd made pretty much exactly the same album second time around, only not quite as good. Good sense would have seen her increase her own writing contributions, but no, only four of her songs feature here. Not that the covers are bad, some are absolutely fine and wonderful and full of all the good qualities present throughout 'Not The Tremblin Kind'. 'Too Late For Tonight' opens proceedings in a very strong fashion, a Laura Cantrell original, great musical backing featuring pedal steel, good vocals. Speaking of the covers, 'All The Same To You' is another song by a country writer completely unknown to me, not being an expert on the genre. This Laura Cantrell version features very Byrdsy guitars, and it's a joyous sound to hear, the whole song and performance is joyous, actually. 'Early Years' is the second of the four Laura Cantrell compositions, and matches any of her songs on 'Not The Tremblin Kind', there is just something about her voice, something about the way she has with words that feel like she's telling you something important about an episode in her life. 'Dont Break The Heart', 'Wait' and 'Mountain Fern' are two covers with the latter being a for once slightly disapointing Laura Cantrell original. All these songs feature sympathetic playing, but not a single one of them sends me into raptures in the way 'Two Seconds' from 'Not The Tremblin Kind' was known to.

    More Byrds sounding guitars are a feature of the enjoyable 'The Vaguest Idea', 'Yonder Comes A Freight Trains' sounds like a fun driving or trucking song, not that I go trucking, but you know.... 'Broken Again' is the final Laura Cantrell original, and doesn't match any of her songs from the debut album proper, although still isn't bad all told. Maybe my expectations were too high? I am still giving this album a high grade, because it really is a good album. It's okay to make pretty much the same album twice, at least in terms of structure, i've already hinted that 'When The Roses Bloom Again' isn't as good as 'Not The Tremblin Kind', repetition or no repetition. Speaking of which, the title song is really good with delicate picking and a vocal floating by tenderly. The final two songs again feature good musical backing, she appears to have chosen her musicians well. She'll never sell any quantity of records, the way the world is. I know for a fact, that the store I bought my copy from hadn't sold a single additional copy a full two weeks after I purchased mine. 'Oh So Many Years' deserves a mention, actually. Sometimes she just knows which songs to sing.

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    Readers Comments

    David Johnstone
    This record is a STONEWALL CLASSIC. It took me a few listens to appreciate some of these. Conqueror's Song just sounds better and better. Like the way it follows the title track. Wow. In fact the whole record is impeccably sequenced. There is something incredibly refreshing about Laura Cantrell. The homely production values allow her voice and pedal steel/mandolin to shine. Great songs sung by a great singer. It matters not who wrote them. Her own lyrics are also worth making a fuss about. So many songwriters struggle to write straightforward lyrics. Ain’t that easy to do.

    o.hugues@wanadoo.fr
    I'm a fan of Laura Cantrell since I love her two records always better and better with each listen. I had the same impression at first, that the second record was a bit less good than the first. But I think it's as good now. I think the collection of songs is maybe a bit less good, but the sound a bit better. Agreed with David too regarding the freshness of these records. And concerning Dolly Parton: amazing singer!


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    Humming By The Flowered Vine( 2005 )
    14th Street / What You Said / And Still / Khaki And Corduroy / Letters / California Rose / Wishful Thinking / Poor Eleen Smith / Bees / Old Downtown

    Laura makes her debut for Matador Records and surrounds her usual mix of country flavoured covers and originals with slighter richer arrangements than before. Indeed, a few songs here come across as more country-pop than country-folk-rock. Excellent, says me. It means she's evolved whilst still retaining most of the elements that so endeared her to her fans in the first place. So, ten new Laura Cantrell recordings that make up a perfectly rounded happy. Happy songs, pop songs, country-pop songs. Sad songs and lots more inbetween. The Laura Cantrell composition 'Khaki And Corduroy' is a slower tune, beautifully sang and affecting. In contrast, '14th Street', also one of the finest things Laura has done, gets the album off to a wonderfully magical pop opening. I don't know what it is, just something in the way she sings and presents her songs. Some kind of honesty. Variety is present of course, second to last track opening with just piano and carrying on with just piano, laura and bass to add atmosphere. It's a song that captures your full attention. Great lyrics, good vocals, a little acoustic guitar here and there. In full-country mode is the delightful 'California Rose', this kind of tune harks back to 'Not The Tremblin Kind', that kind of happy magic that seems fair enough kind of country, but just does something different to 90% of all country music. It's sounds utterly alive, modern and relevant. It sounds fresh. In a similar vein to 'California Rose' is 'Wishful Thinkin' and all is good. Three uptempo numbers in a row? Yes, the very happy and life-enhancing 'Poor Ellen Smith' arrives before the two ballads that close the album.

    The six minute long epic 'Old Downtown is almost country-rock power ballad. It's a strange thing to be on a laura cantrell record, but it works in closing the album in a satisfactory manner. Ah, have I mentioned 'What You Said' or 'And Still' yet? No? Well, on an album with no real weak-points at all, I may as well mention these two more album highlights. 'What You Said' is brilliant, so happy and so well performed and sang. The mid-tempo and considered 'And Still' follows on, then comes 'Khaki And Courdroy' then 'Letters', another great performance on an album full of them. The balance between the new glossier production and the heart, soul and honesty that Laura usually brings to her performance is just about right for 'Humming By The Flowered Vine'. She wants to be carefull not to get too glossy or poppy though, for risk of losing her original audience and credibility. Still, I have faith in her that she knows what she's doing. Another great record from Laura Cantrell then? Well, yeah. Was it ever in any doubt?

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    Trains And Boats And Planes( 2008 )
    14th Street / What You Said / And Still / Khaki And Corduroy / Letters / California Rose / Wishful Thinking / Poor Eleen Smith / Bees / Old Downtown

    She returns again but my mind searches back to first hearing her on John Peel. She was really fresh sounding and wrote amazing songs. For this, her fourth LP proper, the cover versions are the usual kind of country stuff she does, although she tries to turn a New Order song around to her way of thinking, too. The album is something of a mixed bag this time out, as if she's running a little out of steam. Speaking of which, 'Yonder Comes A Freight Train', now this is the kind of stuff she does so well. It rolls along, quite appropriately. The playing is what you would expect, with some great pedal steel parts included. Her voice is clear and she sounds interested and her voice seems arresting. 'Big Wheel' is a decent driving song that doesn't outstay its welcome at a mere 150 seconds in length. 'Train Of Life' gradually seeps its way into your soul over a few repeated listens and suddenly you're glad Laura has returned again. This album certainly seems like something of a retreat from her previous, more commercially minded LP, but then again, she does stuff like 'Train Of Love' so very well. Let's just say I really don't like her version of the New Order song and be done with it, none of this beating around the bush.

    So, whilst 'Howard Hughes' and other songs here are jolly bluegrass influenced pop numbers, without the support of radio in the shape of John Peel, it's hard to see Laura maintaining her UK audience, at least. 'Trains And Boats And Planes' is a clumsily titled album that falls just shy of her previous best work. It's not a million miles away, don't get me wrong. Her ensemble of musicians are still ably supporting her in a sympathetic way and create a pleasing, natural sound. Personally, i'm not sure where i'd like her to go next. Perhaps an album of all original tunes and vary the arrangements a little. She needs to stretch herself - too much of this particular LP sounds a little too comfortable and safe. Her voice does shine through 'Silver Wings' though, enough to remind you of what it was you liked about her in the first place.

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    Kitty Wells Dresses 8 ( 2011 )
    Kitty Wells Dresses / I Don't Claim To Be An Angel / Poison In Your Heart / One By One / I Can't Tell My Heart / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels / Making Believe / Amigo's Guitar / I Gave My Wedding Dress Away / Searching For A Soldier's Grave

    Ellen Muriel Deason was born August 30, 1919 and died July 16, 2012. Known more popularly as Kitty Wells, also known as The Queen Of Country Music. Laura Cantrell was born circa 1967 and is a country singer-songwriter. One of the founding members of the alt-country quintet BR5-49, Chuck Mead sings a duet with Laura, 'One By One', one of nine Kitty Wells cover versions that together with the self-penned title track makes up this set. 'It Wasn't God Who Made Honkey Tonk Angels' was a big hit for Kitty Wells in the 50s and paved the way for many of the female country stars that would follow. Laura's treatment of the tune includes prominent twanged-bass, fiddle and her own understated vocal delivery, sitting on top of this sensitive and laid-back arrangement just mighty fine. Sorry, went all country on you, for a moment - now, pass me that piping hot Cornish pasty and let's get back to business. These ten songs presented in a simple, uncluttered fashion - the first time since perhaps her début LP release that Laura has just tried to let the songs do the singing, so to speak. Speaking of singing, her voice is in fine form, back to a voice you just want to hug and kiss - it sparkles with understated emotion. The pedal-steel work throughout 'I Don't Claim To Be An Angel' is often gorgeous, as is that bubbling, bumbling, melodic bass guitar - the fiddle is pure country but the star of the show is of course Laura Cantrell herself, able to break hearts with her simply stated, almost matter-of-fact vocals.

    'One By One' is the highlight for me, the mix of male and female vocals done utterly perfectly, if you have young child under the age of four, you will understand. Well, you have this sweet female vocal and this almost comically deep male vocal - the contrast between the two is perfect and will make you grin like an idiot, let alone your three-year old daughter. "As sure as there's a heaven beyond the sun...." enough said, really. The title track is genuine and affectionate and mentions gingham dresses and Kitty Wells of course is the subject, 'modest and sweet'. From 'mobile to memphis, Kitty Wells Dresses, every girls dream.

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    this page last updated 09/06/13


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