Independent traditional country of the highest quality
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 06/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For those who are alarmed at the direction in which American country music radio stations have headed in recent years, independent labels have taken on an importance that is perhps greater than ever. With major labels virtually giving up on such music, the independents can take on traditional country singers knowing that there is a ready market for their music.
Following the release of Falling for You (1997), this album was Tracey's second full-length album and was originally released in 2000. Since then, Tracey has released a tribute album, Salute to Loretta Lynn, focusing on the early part of Loretta's career. Tracey's fourth album, Just the way I am, is coming soon.
According to Tracey's website, seven different tracks from this album were released as singles around the world, which is quite achievement in itself, but also points to the consistent quality of the album as a whole. As far as I know, all the songs here are originals, with two of them (Lonesome, Middle of the bed) by noted songwriter Ray Griff. Picking out favorites from such a high quality album is an impossibility, so I won't try.
At the time this album was recorded, Tracey K Houston earned her living as a truck driver, following her musical dreams in between her day job. I notice that while there was a time when Tracey was happy to emphasize her truck driving, her website no longer mentions it (though biographies elsewhere still do) so maybe she's now able to focus fully on her music. Tracey's music is firmly rooted in the country music of the sixties, which Tracey first heard by listening to her mother's record collection. Most people eventually forsake their parents' music for the music of their own generation, but not so Tracey, whose uncompromising style will delight those who enjoy top quality singing backed by the sound of fiddle and steel guitar. Actually, Tracey admits to deviating from the True Path on one track, the bluesy Hot steamy night in Dixie. While this is a little different from the rest of the album, it's not different enough to worry about. You could say that it is traditional country music without the fiddles and steel, but it's a great song and we must remember that steel guitars only became part of country music when Webb Pierce started using one on his records in the fifties.
I listen to many diverse styles and sounds as anybody who follows my reviews knows, but traditional country music, when performed at its best as it is here, does something for me that no other music does. If you love the sound of fiddles and steel guitars supporting top-quality singers, you should support Tracey K Houston and others like her."