Laura Cantrell- Kitty Wells Dresses   Leave a comment

I was quite excited earlier this month when I was assigned Laura Cantrell’s tribute to Kitty Wells to review. Cantrell is one of those singers who I love to listen to, but seldom am reminded to pull her albums off the shelf. This weekend, with a self-imposed deadline in sight, I spent time quickly refreshing my memory of Cantrell’s music; it is every bit as impressive as I remember. I love a good tribute album and find that almost all of them have something to offer; it is nice to hear music that is inspired by a deep respect for those who came before.

Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music is a wonderful albeit rather short salute to a singer whose music I haven’t truly delved into- even when I was in my twenties and beginning to explore country, Wells seemed to be too far removed to really appreciate- sort of like Jimmie Rodgers, I suppose.

Laura Cantrell”s own writing has frequently taken a back seat to her interpretations of other’s songs and this 10-song tribute to Kitty Wells shouldn’t come as a surprise. Songs such as her own “Broken Again,” “California Rose,” and “Early Years” contain the same balance of vulnerability and backbone that Wells’ finest songs captured.

Given the current state of commercial country music, a tribute to Kitty Wells may not seem to be the most viable idea; in fact, one wouldn’t be surprised if some reading her name will consider it presumptuous that Cantrell is paying tribute to Mrs. Bruce Robison.

The impact Kitty Wells had changing the course of country music is well-documented if frequently neglected: 75 charting songs, 50 consecutive charting singles, three number ones including “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. will get you there. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


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