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Teea Goans

Memories to Burn – 2014 (Crosswind)

Reviewed by Sam Gazdziak

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CDs by Teea Goans

Normally, doing a "country standards" album is something that more established artists do to reclaim their country heritage or genre-hopping artists do to show how "country" they've always been. With just three albums under her belt, Teea Goans is already on her second album of all covers. It's not that she needs to boost her country cred any; her classic country sound has won her a number of fans admirers (including the late Ray Price and Little Jimmy Dickens). Goans' voice is the perfect vehicle for traditional country, and "Memories to Burn" is a successful labor of love.

As far as cover albums go, "Memories to Burn" is a little more varied than most, with the songs ranging from the early 1960s to the '80s, with a couple of pop standards, gospel tunes and even Christmas songs thrown in for good measure. Goans and producer Terry Choate did an excellent job in reviving a few songs that have been unfairly forgotten, such as "What's Forever For?", most recently a hit for Michael Martin Murphy in the '80s. "Sing a Sad Song" isn't among Merle Haggard's best-known songs, but Goans' take on it, complete with generous doses of fiddle and steel guitar, is infinitely preferable to another version of "Mama Tried."

Goans ventures outside of traditional country on several occasions. "What a Wonderful World" has been covered more times than is really necessary, but Goans puts a new spin on it by merging it with "Old Fashioned Love." A Western swing arrangement takes it even further away from the familiar Louis Armstrong version. "Sentimental Journey" doesn't move enough away from a big band feel to let Goans really lay claim to the song, though her vocals are spot on. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been recorded to death, unfortunately, and no amount of pristine vocals can fix that.

Traditional country is increasingly more difficult to find as the genre continues to move away from its roots and older tradition-keepers pass on. Goans represents a much younger generation, but her love of country's golden era is apparent. Older country fans may appreciate hearing some of their favorites redone, but it's quite likely that "Memories" can help some younger fans discover Ronnie Milsap or Haggard as well.