West of Somewhere
Soothing, soft spoken, and comfortable describes Jim Wilson’s voice. It’s been seven years since we reviewed his first CD, Border Bravo. We knew he had a new one in the works and it’s been quite a wait—but it’s been worth it. I try to include Canadian content songs on each Spirit of the West radio show and Jim has really helped. In the liner notes he says, “I make no apologies for including five songs by Ian Tyson. Ian is as cowboy as they get, and is always true to the western spirit. However, I’ve also included songs by Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Tom Russell, who are all cowboys at heart.”
Tyson’s Eighteen Inches of Rain, Somewhere In the Rubies, Cowboy Pride and Summer Wages are great listening, and Jim’s version of the seldom heard Short Grass is terrific. Now that’s a song that seems to be quietly making a comeback?—?Jim’s is the latest version of several covers recently.
Producer Jim Jones had helped create a pure acoustic sound, and the interplay of his guitar and mandolin on the traditional Lamplightin’ Time in the Valley makes you hit rewind. My favourite is the title track, West of Somewhere.
I don’t know how long Jim will make us wait for his next one, but this one will wear well.
The Red Hot Rhytm Rustlers
I’ve sat in on a few Western music radio seminars with Marvin O’Dell and enjoyed his broad knowledge of the Western music entertainment industry. But it wasn’t until the release of The Silver Screen Cowboy Project that I learned what a fine singer and songwriter he is.
The Red Hot Rhythm Rustlers consists of an abundance of talent including vocalists Audrey McLaughlin, Dawn Pett, and Gale Rogers, who provide a superb blend of harmony. This is enhanced by Marvin’s Irish tenor-toned tonsils and talented guitarist Tom Boyer, who adds some fine lead breaks.
The CD opens with the fast-paced Ride, Cowboy Ride and closes with a song that’s not generally regarded as pure Western, Route 66. It’s a great collection of songs, but the one that really moved me was Marvin’s composition The 18 and 21 Waltz, whose lyrics so many of us “mature” ranching couples can really identify with. How’s this for pulling at an ol’ couple’s heartstrings: “They know they’re too old to die young, but when she squeezes his hand she’s still 18, and when he kisses her he’s 21.”