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Kenny and Amanda Smith

Always Never Enough – 2005 (Rebel)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Kenny and Amanda Smith

Already with an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) "Emerging Artist of the Year Award" under their belts, the Kenny & Amanda Smith Band continue to raise their own musical bar with their third release.

"Always Never Enough" - penned by Blue Highway's Tim Stafford and Mountain Heart's Steve Gulley - kicks the disc off on a memorable note, with Amanda's candy-coated high and lonesome vocals singing about a "pillow-top sky." This pleasant love song is about always returning to your first love with its simple chorus: "When the going gets tough/I'll come back to you." The Smiths alternate lead vocals; regardless of who takes the mike, the singing, and from the heart harmonies, are at the center of each song. On "Dig a Little Deep," Amanda sings with a smoothness and lushness that echoes the best of Alison Krauss. Kenny - a previous winner of an IBMA guitarist of the year in 1998 - continues to show his prowess here for fine bluegrass pickin', but it's his voice that continues to make a mark. Other highlights include the ballad, "Pacific Time," about a lover longing for a love that lives too far away.

Highs from Kenny include the old time classic "Going Across the Sea," and "Danbury Jail." At 14 songs, "Always Never Enough" has just enough gems to satisfy bluegrass lovers everywhere.