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CD Review: ALLEN KARL & DONNA CUNNINGHAM - Doin' Those Country Covers

Doin' Those Country Covers
Storms Never Last - Your Name Is On My Lips - Almost Like A Song - Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends - The Middle Of A Heartache - If That's The Way You Want It - Sweet Thang - Let It Be Me - Never Knew Lonely - Are You Teasing Me - It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore - You Needed Me
It's always been a real pleasure for me to listen to some 'real' country artists like Donna Cunningham and Allen Karl.  Donna is from Ohio and Allen is from Maryland.  They teamed up in Nashville, a number of years ago, forming a whole new concept on how to get 'real' country music out to the listeners that really like it, and this CD is one of those ways.  It's on Century II Records in Nashville under the direction of Allen.  They have covered a lot of ground making all this happen, with a majority of their success being on the many charts of country music in Europe, which is far different than the bought and paid for charts of America.  Both of these artists have been at the top of those European charts for the last ten or twelve years.  No wonder, all you have to do is listen to their voices on the very first track, know and feel what 'real' country music is all about.  They are both incredible vocalists, each on their own merit, but together they are even better.  The recorded backing by excellent 'real' country music makers just makes one who really appreciates country music as it has traditionally been written, created, vocalized, and recorded, wonder what in the world happened to 'country' music in general to abandon the entire 'roots' system of what country music has been to so many people for such a long time.  Newer, younger, much more money and certainly a penchant to 'cheat' the system is what has happened much to the distress of those who have no affiliation with 'modern' country music at all.  And worse, every time a fan speaks out on behalf of the tradition and classic style of the music they are accused of being an old fart and jackass because they will not allow the music to 'change.'  That seems such a rough charge, the music has changed ever since it began but it always stayed true to the roots and therefore kept the music inside its own genre of understanding.  Today it's merely a 'rap-pop' presentation without  even using the traditional country music instrumentalization.  Fiddle and steel guitar have been abandoned in todays country music, but not so in the presentations of Allen Karl and Donna Cunningham who simply keep on keepin' on keeping country music country. The selection of their material is also very keen.  The very first song, "Storms Never Last" is an excellent way to represent what they are doing. Being a harmonica player myself, I surely appreciated that very instrument in song number two "Your Name Is On My Lips."  Another of my favorites is "Are You Teasing Me," a very traditional country song pulled right out of the very cradle of country music. The Allen Karl/Donna Cunningham version of this old song is incredibly well done.  I can't wait to hear what they are going to do next in their duet presentations.  A tip of the hat and a five-star note of appreciation for this continued 'real' presentation of 'real' country music.
MUSIC REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International

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