Sign up for newsletter

Dale Ann Bradley

Somewhere South of Crazy – 2011 (Compass)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

Find it on Amazon

Subscribe to Country CD Reviews CD Reviews

CDs by Dale Ann Bradley

Critically lauded, praised and recognized by her industry and a fan favorite, Dale Ann Bradley's third Compass album, and eighth overall, continues her measured but steady ascension to the highest levels of bluegrass performance and reverence. Again working with producer Alison Brown, "Somewhere South of Crazy" is Bradley's most obviously contemporary bluegrass recording.

Over recent albums, Bradley's music has become increasingly polished while retaining the traditional spirit that has been her hallmark. It is this duality that makes Bradley's music so appealing.

Co-writing the spirited title cut with Pam Tillis and writing Round and Round on her own, Bradley again steps up to meet rising expectations. Similarly, Leaving Kentucky - the land that refuses to let go of Bradley - mirrors many of her experiences with more than a little autobiography within its lines.

Bradley has always been able to interpret the songs of others as if she had lived every line and rhyme. Singing Come Home Good Boy, Bradley becomes the mother sending her child off to serve; she is the pensive partner considering the wistful images of Seals & Crofts' Summer Breeze, the abandoned of Next to Nothing.

Bill Monroe's In Despair is also included, and it is on this lively hurtin' song that Bradley's deep-rooted talent is most apparent. Singing "But a broken heart will keep on crying, I know you know I am in despair," one hears the life experience in every syllable of pure bluegrass bliss.

As a recording artist should, Bradley improves her performance with each album. Fully realized and confident, Bradley exudes bluegrass and has never sounded better.