Dale Ann Bradley – Somewhere South of Crazy
Dale Ann Bradley has been on a roll of late. She has seen the ups and downs of music business virtually at the same time in recent years. Yet her string of IBMA awards are well-deserved, as anyone who has seen her live can attest. Somewhere South Of Crazy is her latest album for Compass Records and it features an all-star cast with Alison Brown in the producer’s chair.
First of all, yes, it would be nice to see Bradley make an album with her fine touring band, working the new songs out on the road and then bringing that energy into the studio. Other than Mike Sumner playing banjo on a couple of cuts, that doesn’t happen. But, I also have to admit that I have loved the albums that Brown has produced of late. She is musically intelligent yet doesn’t over-produce these efforts. And, as you listen to this album, you appreciate the idea of bringing in Sierra Hull on mandolin. The other musicians include Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Kim Fox, David Long, Andy Hall and Brown on banjo.
The title cut features Bradley’s earthy and sweet vocals. She co-wrote the song with Pam Tillis, and it is one of those numbers that leave you with a warm, good feeling. Other highlights include a nice version of the classic Seals and Crofts song “Summer Breeze,” the fired up “In Despair” and the Reba Rambo-penned “New Shoes.” This album is not a barn-burner, but instead is an easy-going project where Bradley’s friend Steve Gulley sings on nearly every cut and helps to keep her heartfelt music in the pocket. The last cut is a live solo performance of “Old Southern Porches.” When a singer sounds that good with just a guitar, you know you are hearing something special. (Compass Records, 916 19th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212, www.compassrecords.com.) DH