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CD Review: K. C. GROVES - Happy Little Trees

Happy Little Trees
Northern Lights - Bluebird - Annabelle - Little Rain - I Can't Quit You - Lyons Wedding Waltz - Lover's Return - Electric Peak - Universal Lullaby - Train 45 - Annabelle (Reprise)

I believe if 'country' music, as such, would have been allowed to progress realistically into an advanced sound of 'country' music, it would sound a great deal like "Happy Little Trees" sounds.  Country music however did not evolve into it's 'own' musical sound.  It was sort of hi-jacked by money folks who could and did buy their way into the genre, stamping it with their own bought and paid for 'sound' whether it was anywhere near country or not. That's kind of sad when you think of the huge number of honest, sincere, devoted, incredibly talented, and gifted artists AND songwriters that still keep the 'flame' of 'real country' music alive and well.  K C Groves is first and foremost an excellent writer (she wrote nine of the eleven songs), not only with words and meaningful thoughts, but with melody lines that are fresh, new, and very very welcome in the world of rural music today.  She is also a very soft, very authentic, and very humble vocalist.  She has a lovely voice, better than any current new female singing country music today.   Combine those two essential talents with good musicians and obviously you have a home-plate winner.  I love the fiddle of Jake Simpson, a long time friend of mine, he's expressive, and he's one of those rural raised young men who want to satisfy as much as be satisfied. He does both on this most excellent musical adventure.  It's a sort of bluegrass instrumentation, but the music is what I would call 'realistic evolved country' music exactly as it should be.  "Little Rain" is an exceptional old-timey country song up-tempo and super well done.  However it is listed as track 6 "Lyon's Wedding Waltz" a waltz 'Little Rain' is not.  Whatever the case, I'll be listening to this authentic country album a long time.  Other musicians beside Jake Simpson in the Happy Little Trees band is Oliver Craven, Steve Smith, Charlie Rose, and Erin Youngberg.  They are all super good musicians, acoustically masterful, not even "Electrical Peak" has much electric in it with the fiddle and mandolin doing most of the good sounds, sometimes in harmony.  What a treat!. Most of it was cut out in Colorado, and I'd have to say, this particular studio has not sold out to the Nashville sound.  Don't worry, the banjo comes on strong on "Train 45" so does Jake on the fiddle.  I was totally impressed with the Dobro sound on "Universal Lullaby.  You don't see many 'country' albums out today with the 'names' these songs evoke.....do you?  Thank you so much K C Groves for such a wonderful listening experience.  I shall forward this immediately to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  I'll be delighted to see if they agree with me on the evolutionary force this particular project projects.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART; President, National Traditional Country Music Association www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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