Sunday, September 15, 2013

Album Review: - Chris Leigh & The Broken Hearts - Broken Hearted Friends


To all the fans of country music that complain that country isn't country anymore, need not look any further than Chris Leigh to know that there are still some artists in the genre not going the pop route.

Chris Leigh is what country is all about. These are songs of heartbreak and loss and drinking, but without all the redneck references that are everywhere in modern country. Chris' music has been compared to artists like Hank Williams and The Man In Black, Johnny Cash. Those are some pretty hefty comparisons, but once you listen to Broken Hearted Friends you know that they aren't unfounded.

The album opens with a huge twang on "Broken Hearted Friends."  This is kind of a hilly billy variation on the Sgt Pepper theme. The good ole' boy being deserted by his woman, who isn't too keen on his football watching and drinking. This is a great bar song to sing-a-long with.

Broken Hearted Friends is full of songs that will have you singing. "Ramblin' Man" is one of those songs. It is one part Johnny Cash with a touch of Elvis Presley's swagger. There are even a few songs that will tug at your heartstrings. "If You Make It To Heaven" will not only  tug at them, it may just bring a few tears to your eyes, especially as he asks "Could you send me an angel, cos I've done my time here in hell." Chris' voice is full of emotion and it just spills out in songs like this one.

"Like I Love You Forever" is a soul stirring ballad of long lasting love. Twang and those old fashioned "ooohs" in the background give this song polish.

"Whiskey River" is a good ole honky tonk, boozin' kind of song. Everything about it full of twang and pure southern fun. It is oddly uplifting and very energetic, just the kind of song makes you feel good.

If there is any question about the sex of those greenbacks in your wallet, the song "Money" will clear it up for you. "Money" is a faithless woman. Twangy and sorrowful, this song is full of laughs as Chris sings about financial woes. "Money, she don't  love me any more. Money, I'm feeling so awful poor." It is impossible not to crack a smile at lyrics like these.

"Here We Go Again" is rockabilly at its best. Chris is channeling Elvis Presley on this one. This song will send you hurdling back in time to the 50s. You'll stay in that decade with "Who's That." It's only lyrics like "Who's that Facebook Romeo" that give away the decade that the song was written in.

"Heartache & Misery" is a warning to any woman that might have aspirations at this man who doesn't stay too long in one place, who is a definite commitment phob.

If you are a lover of old country music, Broken Hearted Friends is the album for you. There's not a trace of Top 40 or pop anywhere on this album. This album is country with all its twang and even some of the more clich├ęd themes, but it doesn't matter, because that's what makes this album so great. Songs of love, loss and drinkin' are what country music is ...or rather was all about.

It is great to see that there are still artists that play it old school, and Chris Leigh is one of them. This is an album that shouldn't be missed.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars

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