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CD Review: HOWARD STEELE - The Man Behind The Teardrop

The Man Behind The Teardrop
The Man Behind The Songs Behind The Teardrop - My My Dreams Just Keep Coming True - Even The Memory Of You - There's Always Love - I Didn't Move To Arizona For The Weather - Darcy Farrow - A Truckload Of Bad Luck - The Price Goes Up - We Are Forever - Ballad Of Grandpa James
I've had the extreme pleasure of reviewing some early works by Howard Steele in the past.  He makes his home in Oregon, but his heart is in 'real' country music.  The fiddle, played by Roger Berggren, makes itself well known on this fine CD, and that makes it 'very' country.  Roger also plays guitar, steel, bass, and mandolin, so he has a good hold on how this music session is going to turn out, and it turned out extremely well done.  Howard Steele has that very 'sure of himself' voice that fits country music so well.  I reviewed one of Howard's CD's back in 2013.  That one was titled "In The Shadow Of The Rim," and it was super.  In that review I said Howard's voice sometimes sounds like a cowboy, but sometimes it sounds country through and through.  He has a very distinctive voice, and it certainly suit's 'real' country music to a tee.  This entire CD is a real pleasure to listen to.  Howard recorded it at Woodshed Recordings in Junction City, Oregon, and the 'mix' is totally perfect.  My how I wish so-called country music of today could take a couple of lessons from the engineers Alton Wayne and Roger Berggren.  They not only know how to keep the vocals in the middle and the supporting musicians to the sides.  Today's 'mix' coming out of Nashville is disgusting. It sounds to me like they have never learned how to put the vocal in the middle and in the front.  Most of what I hear is a garbled mess of loud noise.  Reason enough to not listen anymore.  That's why I get such a thrill out of listening to a really good 'real' country music CD like Howard Steele makes.  Howard also likes to do 'original' songs that might not be well known, even another good reason to listen to what he's doing, because he knows a good song when he hears one.  Every song on this CD stands on its own merit, thanks to Howard Steele's good voice and approach to how he records it.  Yes, once again Howard's CD goes off to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their 'CD of the Year' awards.  I believe they made contact with Howard back in 2013 but he was not inclined to make the long journey east to where the awards show is held, in LeMars, Iowa.  That festival is now in its 42nd year, still going strong, just like Howard Steele.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International

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