Songs From Lyon County
Dennis K. Duff
2017 - Gracey Holler Music. There are singers, there are songwriters, and there are stories and storytellers. Some stories come directly from the soil and dirt that is filled with history, while others come from the heart and a place of imagination. This project is a collection of stories that derive from the historical soil that is Lyon County located in Kentucky. More so, this project is compilation of nine songs written by a songwriter named Dennis K. Duff. I often come across a great song in which the production portion of the song destroys the true beauty of what lies within the song. This is the case with this entire album. Dennis gains the help from various singers to create this disc; but that is not the problem. The problem lies within the mixing. The instrumentals out weigh the vocals, which draws the listener’s attention to the melody while missing the message within the lyrics. When you miss the lyrics, you are missing the mastery behind this talented songwriter. Dennis has this unique ability to capture a story and create a beautiful song with it. However, at times, Dennis does include a stanza or two that does not relay to the message he is trying to convey. Although it would have been fun to hear the background stories behind each of these songs, as they are born from the history found within Lyon County, there are some songs that are proficient all on their own. The first that comes to my attention is “Night Riders.” Performed in a classic western feel, I can see Charlie Daniels taking this song to a completely new level. All of the songs on this project are performed in the Bluegrass genre. Personally, I would love to hear bluegrass band Circa Blue perform “Castle On The Cumberland,” which gives the listener a new outlook on prison life. I can also hear Ricky Skaggs bring to life “When I Leave Kentucky” with it’s humble lyrics mixed with the grace of God. One of the most prolific songs on this project is “TC and Pearl,” as it shares a humble story about a couple and their life together. This is another that could be brought to the radio airwaves by another artist, such as Rhonda Vincent. The final song worth mentioning is “37 Flood.” This song shares a profound story about a family and their survival of a flood. Many of these songs should hit our list of Top Songs of 2018; nonetheless, their production value is what gives us the reason not to include them. As is, this album gives us a glimpse into the mind of a talented songwriter one that should be sought if you are an entertainer looking for songs for your next project. For the general listener, this is an album to pass on by. $-$$$1/2
(This review was printed in the September / October 2018 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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