Monday, July 27, 2015


A trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame inspired this latest set from Mandell.  She saw all the exhibits from the old timers such as Hank, George and Tammy, and realized what an influence they had been on her music.  Not that this is a pure country album.  It's more the tradition and feel.  As she sings on the opening cut, "I'm old-fashioned, I like to write out a letter of thanks."  This is the letter.

Some cuts could have been from the country charts of the '50's and '60's.  Cold Snap is cute and easy-going, lyrically witty like something Roger Miller might dream up.  This, and most of the songs have the vintage piano sound Floyd Cramer provided for much of the Nashville output of the day.  The sweet-singing Mandell has the voice for the stuff as well, a clean and lovely '50's tone, with clarity and intimacy. 

Town Called Heartache shows how the old country values and styles are deceptive, and it doesn't take much to make them sophisticated and modern.  The classic melody is supplemented with just a couple of clever chords, and all of a sudden it moves to a breezy, near-Parisienne number.  It's a totally charming set.

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