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CD: CURT SHOEMAKER - Free and Easy

Free and Easy
Free and Easy - It's So Nice To Be With You - Key Largo - Dance With Me - Unchained Melody - Red Red Wine - Shoestrings - Makin' Believe - You Comb Her Hair Every Morning - The Last Farewell
Creative artists never cease to amaze me.  Curt Shoemaker, the incredible steel player from Kansas, has put out one of his best efforts yet.  Here's what Martina McBride says about this lovely piece of work..."If you love steel guitar then this is the CD for you.  There are a wide variety of songs and musical styles to keep you entertained."  I couldn't agree more.  I listened to this CD a little differently, I didn't just start with #1 and go through the list.  I started with #7 "Shoestrings" for a couple of reasons.  This is the only original by Shoemaker on the CD, it's also a combination of instruments I have never heard before.  He combined his soft approach to playing the steel with a hammer dulcimer.  I doubt you've heard that blend before either.  The result?  Absolute creative beauty.  Then I went back to "Free and Easy," which stands the test of time easily.  Lunacy Records in Oklahoma City is the depository of Curt's music, and I say 'Thank God.'  At least there is one record company in America that knows what country music really is.  This is an instrumental CD, and there sure ain't many of them around anymore with all those rap singers rapping and crapping, and calling what they do country, but I'm not sure what country they're from, but on "Free and Easy" it's pretty obvious this is one fine fine fine CD from the real country of the United States of America.  Curt used some excellent backing musicians.  He would probably not say they are 'backing' musicians.  He'd probably call them his 'pickin' buddies.'  Doesn't matter, they are right with him all the way through.  Terry Scarberry on guitar and mandolin, Ryan Jones on Keyboard, Steve Short on drums (tastefully done too), Dave Copenhaver on bass who is also the producer, and that wonderful hammer dulcimer is played by Dave Beitz.  What a neat experiment that turned out to be.  As part of another of my journalistic endeavors, I had just listened to the ten worst country songs of 2013, and quite frankly I couldn't even listen to all ten of them.  I left the rap-scene before number eight.  What a relief to know there is 'sanity music' still left in America, and Curt Shoemaker is the 'leader of the pack' when it comes to relaxing, beautiful, stylish music that is in the new idiom the very essence of truth....candy for the ears.  I have to make one more comment before I finish.  "Unchained Melody" is that very famous Righteous Brothers song.  Here it's completely handed over to the creative arrangement of a steel guitarist of the first order.  What a very pleasant listen.  This CD will go to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their "Instrumentalist of the Year" CD awards.  Five stars here for sure.  Record review by Bob Everhart, www.ntcma.net  Curt Shoemaker, 250 West St., Ionia, KS 66949

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