THEN AND NOW
Wow! Tossing Then and Now on the CD player and hearing the opening strains of The Prisoner's Song was like walking through a time portal and hearing the likes of Charlie Pride or Marty Robbins. The cut is pure, old time country, and that is a refreshing thing in this day and age.
While not exactly a household name in country Garth Bourne does have pedigree.
In the past he appeared with notable labels such as R.C.A. and United Artists signing him on with the band, Canadian Zephyr. As their lead vocalist Bourne took many of their records to number one gaining a number of Juno and Country Music Award nominations.
On this CD Bourne is helped out by The West Hill Billys, a group of musicians including Terry Blankley, who regular readers will recall was born in the Yorkton area, and attended grade school here. Blankley also produced the CD.
As a CD, this is pure country. The vocals are clear. The material guitar driven, but never taking front stage over the vocals. The music is a mix of sad ballads, with upbeat cuts, most notably the always recognizable Jambalaya.
While many of the 11 songs are covers, something I'm rarely overly excited about, Bourne does have his hand in writing a quartet of the songs including Gone, a song I think is the best cut here. The other songs are A Long Time Ago, Walls and Love, all which reside in the realm of the slow-paced, hurtin' side of country. Bourne does the sad songs well.
I like this CD, but would have inched the rating up a bit more had Bourne written more of the material, since he has a knack for pure country lyrics in the songs he did co-write.
If you like old country, you can't go wrong with this one. You can find out more at www.garthbourne.50megs.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Mar. 12, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada