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Violet Delancey

When the Clock Strikes Midnight – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Violet Delancey

The debut of Southern California native and now Nashville-based singer/songwriter Violet Delancey is a mix of traditional country, bluegrass and country rock. The opening title track and "Sing the Night Away" are classic country with vocals that are a cross between Loretta Lynn and Kelly Willis. The sentimental "Lost Along the Way" is a country ballad that begins optimistically ("They were married on a summer afternoon/She thought they'd be like Johnny and June") before transitioning to a tale of a failed relationship ("So she stands here as the autumn leaves are falling/And it's his name that she keeps calling").

The seemingly autobiographical "Theme Song" is the tale of a fledgling musician described as a "California girl with an Emmylou guitar." Emmylou Harris is clearly a strong influence as one of the two covers is Gram Parsons' "Luxury Liner" which Harris recorded in 1976, featuring Stuart Duncan on fiddle and Bryan Sutton with some hot guitar licks reminiscent of James Burton's work on both the Parsons and Harris versions. The other remake is an effective rendition of Guy Clark's "She Ain't Going Nowhere."

The strongest bluegrass tinged tune is "Walk Along This Road" that recalls Alison Krauss. Also impressive are "Back to the Sea" and "My Irish Man," the latter as the title would suggest adding a Celtic touch to the mix.

In addition to Duncan and Sutton the musicianship is stellar throughout with producer Brent Truitt (mandolin, guitar, harmony vocals), Jeff Taylor (piano), Byron House (bass), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Jerry Roe (drums) and nice harmony vocals from Jon Randall and Randy Kohrs. With strong compositions, nicely chosen covers and particularly Delancey's pleasant vocals, "When the Clock Strikes Midnight" impresses.