This is a nice addition to the Alicia Nugent catalogue; not the powerhouse “A Little Girl…A Big Four Lane” was, but it fills in the blanks. “Hillbilly Goddess” draws from classic country/western themes and spices it up with, as usual, some hot bluegrass players. Alecia Nugent’s strong, fluid, mid-range voice attacks each song with the proper twang and country cry.
The players joining this jam are Tim Stafford – guitar/vocals, Rob Ickes – dobro/weisenborn guitar, Adam Steffey – mandolin, Andy Falco – guitar, Andy Leftwich – fiddle, Kevin Grantt – bass, Thomas Wywrot – banjo, Tony Creasman – drums. Harmony vocalists – Sonya Isaacs, Jennifer Strickland, Valerie Storey, Carl Jackson (producer of this CD).
Alecia is so easy to listen to. She has a down-home voice not far from the mountains but well outside the city limits. She can punch out a fast song and lilt through a ballad better than most. With her harmony partners she builds some of these songs with a soft pleasant sizzle.
Bradley Walker joins Alecia in a beautiful duet in classic country style with “The Writing’s All Over The Wall.”
On this CD Alecia co-wrote “The Nugent Family Band” with country hall-of-famer, Tom T. Hall and wife Dixie. “Hillbilly Goddess” was written with Carl Jackson and Sonya Isaacs. This is one of the best songs on the CD with clever lyrics about an independent thinking, gun-in-her-purse, country housewife.
The album kicks off with a hot “Wreckin’ The Train.” The intro is in the style of “The Highwayman” (Cash, Kristoferson, Jennings, Nelson) opening instrumental with some choice mando picking by Adam Steffey. Nice train sounds abound in this cut.
“Just Another Alice” is in the vein of Lacy J. Dalton’s “16th Avenue” about star struck singers coming to Nashville hoping to make it, waiting for that one singer “with the voice of an angel and magic in her song” who will be the next star.
Songwriter/guitarist Tim Stafford of Blue Highway gets one of his songs, co-written by Craig Marker, on the CD. “The Last Greyhound” is a well crafted leaving town song. Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Don’t Tell Me” gets the loving Nugent treatment.
The sad loss tune “Dyin’ To Hold Her Again” is contrasted by the speedy “Cryin’ All the Way to the Bank” by Carl Jackson and two-time Grammy award winner Rebecca Lynn Howard.
The CD finishes with the plaintiff, lonesome “Already Home” with Catherine Marx on piano and Carl Jackson and Sonya Isaacs on harmony vocals.
This is not a blockbuster CD, but it does round out Alecia Nugent’s discography with some nice country/bluegrass songs. She is a real trooper. Last year at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival she was called to replace an act at the last minute. Within 24 hours, she flew up from Louisiana with a box of CDs, a powerful group of musicians and tons of energy. The audience loved her!