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Ian Tyson

Songs From The Gravel Road – 2005 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Ian Tyson

Musical icon Ian Tyson could easily be living off his past triumphs. From his days in Ian and Sylvia, to the success he's had with other artists recording his songs like "Four Strong Winds" and "You Were On My Mind," Tyson could be kicking back and counting royalty checks. Instead he continues to write, record and expand his musical boundaries.

His new project includes all but one original song, most set against the backdrop of the cowboy life. The one cover, a stunning rendition of "One Morning In May," features some nice mandolin and fiddle work and feels like vintage Tyson. Other tunes, like "Road to Las Cruces" and "The Ambler Saddler," feel right in line with other of Tyson's recent works. "Range Delivery," with guest vocalist Cindy Church, has a definite reggae flavor to it. "This Is My Sky" combines recitation and vocals, which acts as a good counterpoint to his other more straight ahead material. The final two songs, "Moisture" and "Casey's Gone" are leftover live tracks from Tyson's previous album and are among the album's best tracks.

Ian Tyson is a real musical troubadour. This album, his first in about half a decade, shows him still an excellent singer with a continuing desire to bring new and exciting music to his legion of fans.