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Ken Overcast

Montana Cowboy – 2000 (Bear Valley)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Ken Overcast

It's probably easy for an experienced Western singer to sleepwalk through an album project. Throw in a little history, a smidgen of rodeo life and an old cowboy movie chestnut, and it's about as simple as making a Betty Crocker cake mix from the box.

It's something quite special, though, when an artist can bring fresh new life to a seemingly dormant genre such as cowboy music, and Ken Overcast has truly succeeded at this task here.

This contains the necessary ingredients to take the cake, such as the Western life described in "Workin' Cowboy,' the movie song "Back in the Saddle" and even a fightin' tune with "Mr. Shorty." But Overcast has a pure singing voice, and a sincere way with a song. He even yodels extremely well. Overcast is also a smart songwriter, which he proves with this album's centerpiece song, "What's It Take To Make A Cowboy Cry." With it, he uses spoken verses along with sung choruses to tell the story of how one cowboy is forced to deal with the loss of his wife and son to illness. It's framed within a conversation between an old cowboy and a questioning young boy and infused with true heart.

This same heart is can be found throughout this commendable work. (Box N1542, Chinook, MT 59523, 406-357-3824, E-Mail: 7bearval@3rivers.net, Ken Overcast)