The beauty of having a blog like this is that you get to expose and promote not only the artists that most people know or sort of know, but those who people may not have heard of before. Through Facebook and going to Tamworth every year, I have been able to make contact with many talented artists who do not get the coverage that they deserve. One such artist is Michelle Walker. There is no doubt in the world that Michelle is a country singer. There are so many different kinds of country music these days and everyone is labelling more kinds every day. The purists will put this one in their pockets.
Like the majority of musos at Tamworth, Michelle works pretty hard, with a list of jobs that would make Olivia Walton feel like a lazy old woman. This album has been brewing for a while. Most of the songs follow a formula that is tried and true. Having said that, the formula isn’t followed a lot these days, so for a lot of country music listeners, this will be refreshing and new and that is a good thing. There are a few little surprises, however.
The title track is a winner. It has a theme that is familiar with country songs, but it is very catchy and beautifully delivered. Great guitar work and the fiddle is very cool. A very positive song that could end up on the shower song list.
The songs on the album showcase Michelle’s vocal range, from the deep 50’s/60’s style song: Letting You Go, to middle range It’s Your Life (easily my favourite on the album) to the high notes of Tropical Paradise which is almost as though Bob Marley stepped into the room.
The clichés are there on some songs, but generally, this is a well balanced, easy to listen to feast for the ears. The band is great. I haven’t got the details as I downloaded this from itunes, but the arrangements and the musicianship are spot on. Grandma’s Diary is almost Anne Kirkpatrickesque. In Australian country music, there is no bigger compliment than that.
This is not intended as a criticism, it is actually a compliment. I think in many ways that Michelle’s music and style would have fitted beautifully into the 1970’s/80’s country music era. She was born too late! Having said that, there is still a niche out there for this kind of music and even though the country music world is changing, the industry still has respect for its roots and in music, like most everything in life, everything old can be new again. The beauty of country music these days is that all types fit. You can have your funktry, punktry, hunktry, neo-traditional, bluegrass, country rock, country blues, country trad, country soul etc and they are all welcome. Michelle’s voice and music would be what I would call Pure Country. I think that most people know where I stand country music wise, even though I dabble in lots of different types. What makes Michelle’s music work is that she has remained true to herself. It is raw, honest music.