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Brennen Leigh

The Box – 2010 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Brennen Leigh

There's a mix of traditional country, modern bluegrass and even a touch of blues on singer/songwriter Brennen Leigh's latest independent release. The Austin-based Leigh, who wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 13 tracks, is particularly impressive vocally on country weepers such as the Louvin Brothers influenced Are You Stringing Me Along and You Made A Fool Out Of Me.

Other effective country ballads include the title track (which features Jim Lauderdale on harmony vocals), Distracted, on which Leigh delivers one of her stronger vocals and the haunting Sleeping With The Devil.

Leigh is equally adept at bluegrass including the uptempo Something Borrowed and Traveling On, as well as the sentimental ballad Just To Hear My Little Bluebird Sing. A pair of well chosen covers by other independent artists also display the bluegrass influence with Wendell Adkins' What'll I Do and Tom Vandenavond's In The Bighorn Mountains.

The blues-tinged Backsliding Blues features a nice acoustic guitar solo from Leigh's brother Seth Hulbert. The musicianship is solid throughout with Hulbert also lending harmony vocals and contributions from Lisa Pankratz (drums), Bobby Flores (fiddle), Tommy Detamore (steel guitar), Justin Kolb (bass) and Leigh on mandolin. With strong vocals, thoughtful tunes and stellar musicianship, this is an entertaining collection.