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Dickens, Jones & Hawker

Heart Of A Singer – 1998 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Dickens, Jones & Hawker

This Hazel Dickens, Carol Elizabeth Jones and Ginny Hawker recording is best summed up in the words of Jones - "a hard core mountain vocal album." It is a project that will appeal to fans of old-time music, bluegrass and old-school country.

The trio harmonizes in a haunting style. Dickens is the most lonesome female voice in bluegrass or anywhere. Hawker, brought into the public sphere by Dickens sings from the heart, while Jones, also a member of Jones & Leva, provides a sweetness to their lonesome. All three work in the tenor and baritone range often melding their voices into one. The focus is on old material from folks like Woody Guthrie, Wade Mainer and others such as "Forsaken Lover," and "Not A Word Of That Be Said." Dickens includes the only contemporary feel with her "I Can+t Find Love Anymore."

Backed by, among others, Dudley Connell, Pete Kennedy and Lynn Morris, all highly competent musicians, these women are left to layer their singing over a powerful musical tour de force. These voices have an honest, timeless quality.