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Troy Olsen

Living In Your World – 2002 (Honky-Tonk Hacienda)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Troy Olsen

One look at the way he wears his hat over his eyes, and you'll know who is Troy Olsen's biggest influence. And one song on this album ("Who Gave You The Right") does copy Dwight Yoakam's sound too closely. But that track is an aberration. For the most part, Olsen uses Yoakam the way young Dwight used Buck Owens - as a jumping off point to turn something old into something new. The Arizona native recorded his debut in Southern California with many veterans of that area's country music scene - including co-producer James Intveld, pedal steel player Jay Dee Maness and longtime Yoakam backups Scott Joss and Skip Edwards.

While those names assure a certain level of quality, what really makes this album a standout is Olsen's terrific, expressive, voice. He's equally at home on hard-core honky-tonk like the title track or on a slow bluesy number like "Trying To Find Love." Perhaps his best singing is on "The Hank Song," in which a subject matter seemingly exhausted is reinvigorated at least as much by the power of Olsen's vocals as by the lyrics. Any honky-tonk fan will want this album living in their world. (Box 2063, Tucson, AZ 85702)