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Belle Starr

Far As the Wind Blows – 1996 (BJAM)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Belle Starr

Belle Starr's debut is a pleasant trip back in time. From the openingstrains of "Stolen Glances," the listener is transported back to the late '60's/early '70's, when bands began successfully fusing country and rock together intoa new sound, exemplified by albums such as the Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Singer/guitarist Kip Loui proves himself to be an excellent songwriter, authoring 12 of the album's 13 tracks, and evoking a variety of moods therein. From the longing and melancholy of "Yesterday's Kiss" and the title track, to the ode to good times and togetherness of "The Gang's All Here," to the paybacks-are-a-bitch attitude of "Too Bad," not a single song misses the mark.

The only cover tune is a rework of the instrumental classic, "Sleepwalk," which includes some magnificent lap steel. Female vocalist Lynne Reif shows a lot of promise and guitarist John Horton shines throughout, especially on the lap steel. Fred Teutenberg and Spencer Marquardt round out the lineup on bass and drums, respectively. This is one of the strongest debuts of 1996; definitely one worthy of adding to yourcollection!