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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Sounds of Sunday" Garners Another Positive Review

Once again the Dixie Echoes latest CD, "Sounds of Sunday" recieves a positive review! This time the review is courtesy of David Bruce Murray over at Here's what Dave had to say:

CD Review
: Dixie Echoes (Sounds Of Sunday)RATING: 4 Stars
Producer: Randy Shelnut

Song Titles: "If Jesus Is There," "Up To The House Of Prayer," "Praise The Name Of God," "I Won't Have To Worry," "Welcome Home My Child," "New Born Feeling," "The Last Mile Of The Way," "Ole Brother Noah," "If We Never Meet Again," and "After The Sunrise"

Sounds Of Sunday is characterized by a simple, classic approach to production, arranging, and song selection. "If Jesus Is There" and "Up To The House Of Prayer" set the tone for the project, with Randy Shelnut's expressive lead voice carrying these two cuts. On "Praise The Name Of God," Scoot Shelnut gets in a couple of lines to contrast his father and Dallas Rogers (who is often compared to Archie Watkins) hammers the ending home. Next, Scoot sings the first verse to "I Won't Have To Worry" in a true baritone range, yielding the melody to his father on the chorus. Rogers takes the second verse and makes the most of it, which makes the more subdued second chorus with Randy on the melody feel least until Rogers resumes the melody on the tag. Tracey Crouch sings the melody on the second verse of "Welcome Home My Child" with the Shelnuts stacked over him in a Smoky Mountain trio style.

The second half of Sounds Of Sunday features more of the same type of classic singing. Lee Roy Abernathy's "New Born Feeling" features Scoot. Randy is showcased again on "The Last Mile Of The Way." Crouch isn't a particularly deep bass singer, but he drops down to a low B-flat with confidence on "Ole Brother Noah." He knows his limits and stays within them, which indicates a level of maturity that's lacking in many bass singers, including some who are twice his age. Sounds Of Sunday closes out with the well known Albert E. Brumley song "If We Never Meet Again" (featuring Rogers) and a lesser known tune written by J. R. Baxter and Eugene Wright titled "After The Sunrise" that gives each group member a few exposed lines.

I should also mention that the entire project was recorded by one studio musician, David Johnson, and members of the Dixie Echoes. Stewart Varnado played piano and organ, with Scoot adding bass and drums, and Randy contributing on guitars. Johnson, of course, plays every stringed instrument known to harmonica.

With only ten songs totaling 24 minutes, some fans may feel shortchanged due to this project's brevity. On the other hand, if you prefer music that is generally up-tempo, you may not care that the overall length is less than average. The Dixie Echoes are sounding great with this line-up. Crouch and Rogers blend with the Shelnuts better than the Hodges/Todd combination of a few years ago. At the same time, each vocalist knows when to add some cut to their tone for emphasis without going overboard or hurting the blend.


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