Totally Biased Fan Review: The Fire Still Burns – Don Costa

Don-Costa-fire-still-burns-home  Years ago, I wandered into what is now known as The Atrium at a January Tamworth Country Music Festival and these two brothers were playing….for free. One brother was Paul, the other one was Don. I knew the name because my aunty (yes, country music is in my family) had seen and heard the brothers many times and she had recommended them to me. They sang lots of well known country songs. They were damn good. Every Tamworth, whether it be in January at Lowes Concert Hall in Peel Street or at Shopping World over the bridge, I check in on Don and you all know how much I love Paul, who has gone in a different direction, writing and co-writing songs and producing some big selling albums, packing out big concert venues and being nominated for awards. Both brothers are fine talents, to compare them would be like comparing apples and oranges, so I won’t, because I love them both for very different musical and personal reasons. Having said that, they have as much in common as they have differences. They both have wonderful voices, both have a way of bringing in an audience of all ages, and they are both, undoubtedly, country as. I mainly write about singer/songwriters, but there are some artists who deserve as much recognition, because their talent and charm outweigh everything else. This album of well known favourites and some more obscure songs is a great showcase of Don’s abilities and diverse range. Don is a crowd pleaser, as Paul is. With a wonderful crew on board, including Brendan Radford, Camille Te Nahu and the best guitarist in the business, Stuie French at the helm, this is a ship that floats very well. Songs: Wagon Wheel: The most played song in January and in July in Tamworth, this catchy little singalong number is penned by the second best songwriter in the business, Bob Dylan, so as the product from the  most covered artist of all time, it is a must for this sort of album. I love this bar: The second most played song in July in Tamworth and a classic drinking song, this Toby Keith song is a great crowd pleaser and an easy to relate to song for us who have a favourite watering hole. Little Bitty: The catchy Tom T Hall classic is a bit of a tongue twister and one to appeal to children, though when Don performed it LIVE, the oldies clapped along to it too. When you walk in the room: If Jackie DeShannon had a crystal ball when she wrote this, she would have been proud of the wonderful versions and the variety of artists who have performed it over the years. Don does a wonderful version, probably one of the best that I have heard. It is a song that appeals to a broad audience. Big River: The legendary Johnny Cash gave us all a lasting, beautiful gift with his music. He will always be alive because people keep singing his songs. This is one of his best and Don delivers a great version.   Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow – Alan Jackson is probably one of the most respected country music artists of the modern era. Together with George Strait, he holds the highest appeal with today’s country music fans. This is one of Alan’s more up tempo songs, and Don gives it his all. Go Rest High on that mountain – Vince Gill is one of my favourite artists, this is one of his more spiritual songs and Don puts all of the emotion into the song that truly needs it. No half measures allowed on this song.   A Fool Such As I – As a huge Elvis fan, I have always loved this song. Of course, Elvis didn’t write it, but like Don, he made a lot of other people’s songs, his own. I think that this is one of my favourites on the album. Don does a wonderful job. (Tonight we just might) fall in love again: This is one of two Hal Ketchum tracks. I must admit, I didn’t know this song. Great one. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere: Again, a much covered song at Tamworth and I am sure at other festivals too. The Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett song has world wide appeal and a favourite of many country music fans. You can’t really go wrong with this one. Rockin Roll in a Cowboy Hat: I am glad that I heard the story behind this song with Don LIVE at Hats Off. This is a Slim Dusty song, but not one of the ones that we all know so well. It is so much like a lot of country music these days….what a wonderful song. I know that Don will always keep it country! Write this down: This is a George Strait song. George had a lot of people writing for him, this song is no exception. Don does a great job. One of the best songs on the album. Small Town Saturday Night: Another Hal Ketchum song, great song, Don delivers well. Lonely Boy: Interesting Choice. I didn’t expect this from Don, but he does a great job on a more upbeat song. Total change of pace. This album will appeal to many. Those who favour traditional country, a great voice, fine production and the general street popularity of one of Australian Country Music’s most guaranteeable country music artists.

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