Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review -- RAY ST. GERMAIN -- Life Ain't Hard

LIFE AIN'T HARD
Ray St.Germain
GR Records
6.5-out-of-10
In terms of country music old is often best, at least in terms of style. Much of the current country hitting radio airwaves is closer to rock 'n roll than it is to something from a country purist such as Johnny Cash, or Merle Haggard.So it's always refreshing when someone offers up something with the soul of pure country. That's just what Canadian country music veteran Ray St.Germain does with his most recent release.Before we get to the CD itself, it should be pointed out just how veteran this Manitoba musician is. He started on local radio in his native province back in the late 1950's, so is marking 50 years in the business.Over those years St.Germain has been in the recording studio repeatedly, with some 20 disks, singles and full-length efforts to his credit, the last being My Many Moods released in 2003, although a Christmas album was released in 2005.The CD opens with Mother Trucker's Son, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek country number that is notable in that St.Germain manages to drop in the names of several communities into the lyrics, including Yorkton and Saskatoon. It's always interesting when music touches so close to home.Now if there is a problem with this CD it's that St.Germain at times just a bit too hard. Such is the case with the title cut Life Ain't Hard. He pushes this one a bit too hard in presentation, while the lyrics are a tad to blatant attempt at creating a song full of country catch phrases. St.Germain is far stronger when he slows things down and goes full old school country.The best cut here is Let It Rain, a song written by Billy Simard. This one is pure old country, and St.Germain carries it off with practiced skill.You get the same feeling on We All Make Mistakes Sometimes, another classic approach to a classically-styled song.Daddy is a third cut that fits in stylistically with the best on this CD.While not as strong start to finish as it might have been with some wiser song choices, there are a few gems here which are certainly worth repeated listens.Check it out at www.raystgermainmusic.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct. 29, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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