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Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Beautiful Lies – 1996 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Sweethearts of the Rodeo

When the Sweethearts of the Rodeo fell out of favor with radio, they could have just given up. Instead, Janis Gill and Kristine Arnold signed with an independent label and released the critically acclaimed acoustic album "Rodeo Waltz." Now, they have recorded the follow-up, a more commercial album successfully blending country and bluegrass with the sisters' beautiful harmonies.

"When the Morning Comes" and "I Won't Cry" are catchy, electrified tunes while "I Know Who You Are" is a sweet acoustic number.

All were written by Gill, who proves herself a decent, if sometimes trite songwriter. She does much better as producer, however, as most of these songs feature a wonderful mix of fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, instruments heard all too seldom today. The one song that falls flat is the stereotyped, pseudo-Irish "The Inn at Innisfree," complete with supposedly rowdy screams and glasses clinking in the final chorus.

Aside from that song and the sometimes hackneyed lyrics, this album is an immensely enjoyable alternative for fans who are sick of pounding drums and blaring electric guitars.