Sign up for newsletter

Keith Sykes

Don't Count Us Out – 2001 (Syren)

Reviewed by Scott Homewood

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Keith Sykes

Fortunately for Keith Sykes, his songs can excel in both mainstream country styles and folk/bluegrass. When he strips his songs bare instrumentally, one can clearly hear the ache in his voice and the pure sorrow in the tender stories. Sykes is a formidable talent as he ably conveys his innermost thoughts in a way that seems to connect with the heart of the listener. The opener "Country Morning Music" and "Broken Homes" are especially good examples of this wit the latter a meaningful song about divorced families.

When he chooses to rock out a little, Sykes brings aboard a bunch of talented ringers like John Mellencamp guitarist Larry Crane and pianist Ross Rice among others to flesh out his interesting and well-written songs. Sykes also likes to sing with others and invites Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Iris DeMent and Susan Marshall to harmonize. The Crowell song, which he co-wrote, is especially good.

Overall, Sykes seems able to not only bridge a gap between genres but also make his songs both heartfelt and touching without becoming sappy or maudlin. (Box 280121, Memphis, TN 38168, 901-867-7175)