The NBT Review 28


Hard Road/Muddy Track – Dennis Kolen (Wyatt Records)

Kolen approaches the themes inside this lovely collection of songs  from two different points of view. Sometimes he is the thoughtful observer, sketching for us, portraits of lonely, often faded, still beautiful creatures, creatures that inhabit the shadows of the too glistening palaces we call entertainment. Sometimes, however he is the star of these stories, road movies, and he shows us what haunts him in hushed detail as he travels.

Alluring moments are many, like the harmonies approaching gospel folk wonder in ‘God of the Mountain and the James Taylor intimacy of’ Elementary’ and ‘Macabre Disneyland.’ Best of all are the subtle sways of country ballad ‘Stand Inside Love’ which seems to offer some sort of hope for his wounded characters.

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Gentle As The Sun – Naomi Sommers (American Melody)

The first thought that strikes me, is how appealingly free of angst this music is, as the song ‘two Sparrows’ settles into my subconscious I realize that in just 5 verses Sommers has created a complete picture of two people comfortably fearlessly in love.

But don’t, for a second, gentle reader, think this is some smug family rustic collection; there are tingles of the cold beneath the warmth, for example the perfectly realized tale of a woman’s fears for her lover at war in the song ‘Come Home’

Sommers explores the emotions and observations of someone adjusting to the impassiveness of the city dweller. This tale,(‘Grey Sky Girls’)is constructed and played  with an intuitive feel for traditional country that a Dolly Parton or Emmylou Harris would approve of.

Mention must be made of the only non original in the set ‘Sea Of Heartbreak’ which the artist makes her own with the aid of lilting strings and gentle banjo

This Sun in the title is the welcoming presence of Dawn, and the forgiving friend of the Sunset.

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