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CD Review: ASPEN BLACK - Lovin' the West

Lovin' the West
El Dorado - Lovin' the West - One Cowgirl - Nobody's Listening - Sing Me A Campfire Song - I Can't Catch The Mule - It Must Be The Rain - Following the Cattle Trail Home - Nothin' But The Wind - Go West
It amazes me that interest keeps popping up about western and cowboy music in America.  Both the settlement of the west and the old-time cowboy has pretty much changed.  Still, the 'legend' of the west and the heroes and bad guys still hangs on with a passion.  Keeping the history alive, keeping the 'brand' of music alive, keeping today's 'original' thoughts loud and clear.  This must be a non-ending thorn in the side of commercial popular music in America today who want to 'control' the business.  Aspen Black is a beautiful young woman devoted to her musical development.  This particular CD of original songs really showcases her beautiful voice.  It takes me back many years to an old opera house somewhere in the dusty west, where the local citizens have arranged for a concert of music they like and understand.  Aspen Black fills that image perfectly.  Aspen fills that old opera house too.  Those 'dusty' cowboys and cowgirls all sitting through a concert of music devoted to their own existence.  And roaring like crazy at the end of each song and story.  All of these 'new' country and western songs are precious.  It's a strong statement to the music world at large that beautiful voices, beautiful writers, beautiful girls still exist, and in the case of Aspen Black, none of these writers and performers are afraid to make their statements.  I kind of like each and every song on this album, each one is a different kind of story.  Each one is a different kind of musical presentation.  Each one is incredibly well done.  Aspen is an accomplished musician too, performing lead guitar, rhythm guitar, mandolin, hand drum and tambourine, and does all of the lead vocals.  Kerry Grombacher plays mandolin, and sings harmony.  Randolph Walker plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar, harmonica, acoustic bass and also adds harmony vocals.  It's a delightful 'new' look at the west, and certainly a delight to listen to.  Being a harmonica player I really like "Nothing But The Wind" but the song I like best that presents Aspen's voice so softly and beautiful is "It Must Be The Rain."  Good going Aspen, a delightful project that should be part of anyone who wants to hear some 'new' stories about the old west, and some terrific music and vocals.  Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their appraisal.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Assn.  www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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