Search - John Conlee :: Country Heart

Country Heart
John Conlee
Country Heart
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: John Conlee
Title: Country Heart
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Varese Sarabande
Release Date: 8/29/2006
Genres: Country, Pop
Style: Neotraditional
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 030206675023

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CD Reviews

Conlee's New CD Possess a "Country Heart"
T. Yap | Sydney, NSW, Australia | 09/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Prime Cuts: Nothing Changed, Indian Head Penny, Fellow Travelers

While many veterans have cremated their careers by resigning to singing at the cemetery of country music, Branson, there are a few exceptions. Joining the sizable consortium of Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and George Jones, Conlee still ventures into the competitive world of country music with rose-colored glasses. In fact, after he has had lost his major label signing, Conlee has not stopped recording. Following a recent gospel output and a re-recording of his greatest hits, "Country Heart" is his latest endeavor. With 9 previously unreleased songs and 7 released songs, this new disc finds the Versailles, Kentucky native re-teaming with producer Bud Logan. For those unacquainted, Logan was the man who helmed some of Conlee's earlier hits propelling him to stardom in the seventies. Almost like Déjà vu, a homecoming tepid accompanies these previously unreleased paeans, bringing us back to the days where music stands not on its beats and whistles, but on the sturdy well-constructed melodies. However, vocally, age has somehow caught up with Conlee as his enunciation is no longer as pristine. But, Conlee's much loved melancholy-drenched vocal distinctive is still in galore especially in the ballads.

Of the previously unreleased tracks, the Guy Clark-penned "Indian Head Penny" towers over the rest with its interesting narrative plot. Like Gulliver's Travels, we embark onto a whirlwind tale of the personified life of a penny as Conlee tells us of how Pretty Boy Floyd stole it from a bank, gave it to a farmer in order to save his land, and how during WWII, it later brought luck to a soldier. Initially recorded by Billy Dean and Clark himself, "Indian Head Penny's" titling melody and ever-gripping storyline is a fine piece of art. Interestingly, Kent Robbins (who wrote George Strait's "Write This Down" and Gary Allan's "Her Man" among others) who died in 1997 has contributed 3 cuts here. "Midnight's Murder on Me" is a dark bluesy mid-tempo with a haunting echo of Alan Jackson's "Midnight in Montgomery," while the complaisant-sounding "She Woke Up Leaving" is a honky tonk dust kicking blazer about a frustrated woman finally taking the courage to leave. The best among these tripartite of Robbins' composition is "Nothing Changed"--a steel guitar and fiddle soaked morose weeper where Conlee puts on a good show of affecting country crooning and macho assertiveness.

Of the older recordings, Conlee's choice of material from his extensive corpus is interesting. Instead of displaying his big hits such as "Rose Colored Glasses," his number ones such as "In My Eyes," "Common Man," "Busted" and others, Conlee has garnered his album cuts and minor hits from his 1989 "Fellow Travelers" CD. The canine aggravating novelty "Doghouse" may be nascent in today's slew of dog-related ditties, but it is not Conlee's most memorable moment. Much better is the Keith Whitley-scribed ballad "Hopelessly Yours." Though "Hopelessly Yours" did not create a splash for Conlee, it was a major top 10 hit for Lee Greenwood and Suzy Bogguss. "Fellow Travelers," a Wayland Patton creation, is one of the highlights here. Its simple melody basking an inspirational message of forgiveness and getting along, is just breathtakingly beautiful. While the Mike Reid and Rory M. Bourke gritty "Until You're Gone" serves up some ferocious emoting over some sturdy electric guitar licks.

Overall, "Country Heart" has arteries transfusing new blood into Conlee's copious repertoire. With a keening eye on songs that sing and speak to the heart, these previously unreleased songs are prognostic of becoming future classics. On the other hand, this CD also resuscitates some of his older songs circulating new life to recent fans. Also with 16 whopping cuts, this is value for money. After all these years and despite country radio's reticence to play anyone above the age of 45, it is encouraging to see Conlee still putting out albums of songs that matter---songs that possess a country heart.
One of my favorites...
Ruth E. Mccully | Mount Vernon OH USA | 11/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Conlee is one of my all-time favorite country singers. His sound has a lilting quality that you just find yourself singing along with. This CD was not a disappointment for that quality and has become a selection that is often played when I am on the road and can sing as loud as I want. I would recommend this CD for anyone who collects good country sound."