Eastern Western Cowgirl
Cowbuquerque - Wanderin' - Dream Ride - Eastern Western Cowgirl - Cabin of Dreams - Ride With You - Snowdog Moon - Cottonwood Tree
I'm not sure a girl in Virginia can be a real 'cowgirl' but Aspen Black is definitely doing a good job convincing me that is not only possible, it's a reality. Every one of these songs was written by her, and she has a really pretty voice to make them connect with the listener. The recording is closer to a very good demo than it is for a 'ready for release' CD for a more public or radio ready rendition. Not much on who is doing the music or where it was recorded, I'm thinking Aspen is playing her own rhythm guitar, but she also adds some interesting tracks using mandolin, 12-string guitar, bass, a small drum set, some strings, and even Native American hand drum at the Buksbari Ranch Studio in Rocky Mount, Virginia. All of this turns out pretty good in presenting some new thoughts, ideas, ways of presentation, and certainly some new ideas in songwriting. However, I believe the most important thing Aspen is doing with her life, is helping people, any kind of people, any age of people, learn how to be a good horseback rider. It's called 'empowering' and that's exactly what she does, she helps anyone become empowered enough to become a great horseback rider. She even dedicated this album to her horse 'Peanut' which she lost in 2013. I definitely like the definition she gives of what a cowgirl is. It came from Dale Evans (the wife of Roy Rogers, and the composer of 'Happy Trails')....."Cowgirl is an attitude, really a pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands. They speak up. They defend the things they hold dear. A cowgirl might be a rancher, or a barrel racer, or a bull rider, or an actress. But she's just as likely to be a checker at the local Winn Dixie grocery store, a full-time mother, a banker, an attorney, or an astronaut." Okay okay, Aspen, you've convinced me that Virginia can be home to a western cowgirl. Your songs are definitely from a 'western' writer, well proven in "Cabin In Dreams" and "Cottonwood Tree." A little bit different, granted, but absolutely well done. Christian character building is another big plus in your western lifestyle. Keep it up. This CD will go to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their award selections for next year. Good luck cowgirl, keep your fingers crossed and keep your calendar open.
REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART WWW.NTCMA.NET for Country Music News International Magazine