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Album Review

JEANETTE WILLIAMS
Thank You For Caring
(Blue Circle Records)

Jeanette Williams, at least on Thank You for Caring, has everything I dearly love about country and bluegrass: voice, song selection, instrumentation, sound, and that intangible something which makes the truly greats like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and the Seldom Scene and even Jimmy Martin (my introduction to vocal bluegrass and that something “intangible”) worth hearing. I tell you, when Jeanette starts to sing, I have to listen. She is comfort food for my soul.



Williams either has an unerring ear or spent a lot of time weeding through possible selections for this album because it is as good a collection as I've heard recently, which is saying a lot. The fact that Enough of You is the only Williams-penned original tells you how hard it must have been. And don't fool yourself. The more you write, the easier it is--- fewer choices. Enough of You, by the way, is a great example of light, upbeat vocal bluegrass in that modern/old-timey vein favored by Ricky Skaggs and Tim O'Brien and the like.

From there, she bounces around. Bad Money, one of many fine songs written by Lonesome River Band's Brandon Rickman (this one with Charley Stefl), is given a Jeannie C. Riley twist, Dixie & Tom T. Hall's Thank You For Caring pounds the 60s country nail on the head (not in small part due to George Jones' vocal support), Alone rips at the heart strings and is more folk with country instrumentation, Laurie Lewis's Blue Days, Sleepless Nights swings the country (Pee Wee King and Bob Wills would be proud) with almost Andrews Sisters vocals (and with absolutely superb resophonic guitar courtesy of the slowly-working-his-way-towards-the-Country-Hall-of-Fame, swear to God, Randy Kohrs), and just when you think Jeanette is all country, she throws in the beautiful Through the Eyes of a Child which allows you to hear what a magical voice she has.

Of course, we're not all perfect and please don't take this as a slam, but the album dropped from ten to nine stars with the inclusion of a cover of Gloria Gaynor's hit, I Will Survive a la bluegrass. I know there is overwhelming support for the sentiment of the song and I support women's rights and all, but I soured on disco from the get-go and disco in bluegrass clothing is still disco. For those who like the song, though, it is served up in fine bluegrass-style, probably as good as the song can be done. And whereas I don't care for it that much, I got a heaping helping of thirteen outstanding tracks before the hammer dropped. That's hard to beat.



Learn more about Jeannette. Visit her website.


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