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CD Review: KEN MELHUS - Last Of The Summer Wine

Last Of The Summer Wine
What a Wonderful World - Wayfaring Stranger - Dream A Little Dream - Anytime - Blue Spanish Eyes - Ridin' Down The Canyon - Cool Water - Four Walls - It Is Well With My Soul - Gentle On My Mind - Blue Skies - White Christmas - Blue Side Of Lonesome - Amazing Grace - The Wind And The Stick Horse
Ken Melhus has a very beautiful voice.  That was very obvious by the time I got to the second song on this remarkable CD (Wayfaring Stranger).  Recorded at Rick Andersen's R&H Studios farmhouse studio near Underwood, Iowa, I'm always impressed with how Rick uses his musical abilities to enhance each and every artist that comes to him for his help.  It's also Rick's 'ear' that helps him get through the session with an advance knowledge of what needs to be done.  Starting from scratch, this project of Ken's is a remarkable all-encompassing love token to his family, grandkids, and friends thoughtfully preserving the three periods of his musical life beginning with his 6th grade music class where he found the joy of music and singing.  His second period of music occurred right out of high school when he played trumpet for the Frankie Barr Orchestra.  The third, and final period, happened at the Old Acorn Feed Store in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which became a very popular 'meeting place' to hear old-time country, western, and bluegrass music. It's Ken's melodious voice that carries through on each and every one of these lovely songs, of all genre.  His dad was a guitarist and liked to play and sing cowboy songs.  Ken carries that tradition on very well with two great 'western' songs, "Ridin' Down The Canyon' and 'Cool Water' both of them well done.  All of these songs are extremely well done even though there are many different genres to pick from.  Rick Anderson did a terrific job bringing it all together, including playing himself on guitar and harmonica.  I especially like Rick's harmonica on Eddy Arnold's great song "Anytime."  I'm sure it's Harriette's bass that we hear throughout the session, and mixed very nicely.  I've listened to Ken Melhus recordings before, and they have always been very well done, and very very entertaining.  In this project, as he reminisces about the fact that he will be 75 years old in 2017, he feels there is more time behind him than ahead of him, and he does a remarkable job keeping the 'keepsake of his music' alive and well for his family. He even added a self-composed song "The Wind And The Stick Horse" a really nice 'story' to close the session with. Interesting session,and lots of fun to listen to.  Looking forward to period number four.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Association
www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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