Acoustically Native -CD Review

Acoustically Native -CD  Review
Artists: Mark Holt, Kimberlee Holt Tully

Guest Artists/Musicians
Stuart Duncan – fiddle & mandolin, Mark Fain – bass fiddle, Randy Kohrs – dobro, Scott Vestal – 5 string banjo, Pete Huttlinger – acoustic guitars, Tim Tappan – piano, Kathy Chiavola – harmony vocals, Bil VornDick on the board

Song List/Credits
1. El Paso City – Marty Robbins – Mariposa Music BMI
2. Midnight Rider – Gregg Allman – Elijah Blue Busic BMI
3. One Last Dance – Mark Holt – Mountainside Music BMI
4. Roll'n with the Flow – Jerry Hayes – Algee Music Group BMI
5. Cattle Call – Tex Owen – Foster Music ASCAP
6. Me & My Uncle – John Philips – Spirit Two Music ASCAP
7. You're in My Arms to Stay – Mark Holt – Mountainside Music BMI
8. All Over Now - – Mark Holt – Mountainside Music BMI
9. Why Me Lord – Kris Kristofferson – Resaca Music BMI
10. Frank Sinatra Medley: One More for the Road / The Way you Look Tonight – Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen BMG ASCAP
11. Cowboy up / Riding for America – Mark Holt & Kimberlee Holt Tully – Mountainside Music BMI

The Music
This sibling duo is hard to classify with an assorted selection of tunes featuring a little bit of bluegrass, a little bit of country, a little bit of acoustic, a little bit of western, and a touch of Sinatra style lounge music. Its assorted mix is an enjoyable listen.

Three of the 11 tunes were written by Mark Holt with a fourth one, Cowboy Up co-written with Kimberly Holt Tully. This tune was written for the South Dakota leg of the 9/11 Riding for America Benefit sponsored by International Horseback Trail Ride. Mark's songs are lyrically interesting with a bit of romantic qualities and musically uncomplicated. Overall the project is instrumentally complimentary providing melodic support for the vocals without being overpowering. The cast of supporting musicians lend strong support and a high level of distinction to the project.

Holt's high tenor vocal style is quite versatile ranging from the rugged rasping guttural to a high pitched yodel to a softer tremolo style, most of which works quite beautifully but the wobbly tremolo style somehow doesn't quite fit the music here. There are few times when the vocals are a little overstated as if he is searching for the style that fits him best. On some of the tunes, his voice is stylistically reminiscent of Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, particularly on Me and My Uncle. The rugged raspy style which is prevalent throughout the CD is quite engaging and best characterizes the vocal style.

The Bluegrass treatment of Gregg Allman's Midnight Rider is most interesting with Mark's grit and gravely vocals. This piece is probably the best piece in the collection. El Paso City is undoubtedly country. While the dobro in Roll'n with The Flow lends a country feel, the song is less obviously country. Cattle Call with its high yodel brings you to the western range as does Cowboy Up. It's easy to imagine sitting around the campfire at the end of a long day on the trail.

Acoustically Native is a fine project supported by a bevy of talented musicians. The selection of covers interspersed with self penned pieces is stylistically complimentary even if diverse. If you are searching for something a little different from mainstream country, Acoustically Native is a good choice offering an enjoyable listen.

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