If you want to start with a “best of “ Claire Lynch this is the perfect CD. Claire picked these songs based on fan and personal favorites. Her lilting, easygoing, right-on-the-money vocals are her trademark. Her fluid notes flow effortlessly with every song on this CD.
Train Long Gone” kicks off this wonderful CD. This was a top-of-the-chart bluegrass hit in 2006. Nice fiddle work by Stuart Duncan permeates this “love may be gone, but never forgotten” mover.
“The Day That Lester Died” is Claire’s paean to the man she didn‘t know she missed until he died.
Henry Hipkens wrote “Fallin’ In Love.” This jazzy tune is waiting to be included in “standard” catalogues. It reminds one of jazz pop hits like Steve Allen’s “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big.”
Claire knows how to match a melody to the song’s lyrical message. In “Hills Of Alabam’,” co-written with Mark Fair, the song explains the homesick feeling that can accompany seemingly endless travel on the road with a band between one night stands.
Rob Ickes’ dobro accents, Michael McLain’s banjo and Jim Hurst’s solid guitar soloing ramps up the tempo of “If Wishes Were Horses.”
The thankful, spiritually-uplifting “Your Presence Is My Favorite Gift,” written by Hershey Reeves, has a nice easy cello, bass, guitar, fiddle and bouzouki (by Larry Lynch) instrumental foundation.
Claire and Irene Kelly team up on two songs which shows why they write so well together: “Jealousy” and the country-fied “Silver and Gold.” Claire also teams up with Pamela Brown Hayes on “Sweetheart, Darlin’ of Mine.” Claire mentions in her liner notes that a dog owner once told her, “I sing that song to my dog every night!” Other female songwriters collaborated with Claire on this album: Jennifer Kimball on “He Don’t Like to Talk About It” and Susan Stewart on “Friends For A Lifetime.”
“Sweetheart, Darlin’ of Mine”
“Kennesaw Line” was written by Don Oja-Dunnaway about the personal experiences of a Confederate soldier. Alabama girl Claire Lynch sings this with suitable reverence. It ranks at the top with other Civil War songs like “Sticks That Made Thunder” and “Ben McCulloch.”
With Chris Stuart’s clever Cajun ditty “Thibodaux” Claire makes you want to get up and dance a Cajun two step. There is perfect Cajun fiddle by the late Randy Howard and Dave Pomeroy’s cool bass sounds like some kind of bass horn.
One of the premier cuts on this CD is “Wabash Cannonball.” This song was done by hundreds of bluegrass/country singers and pickers, but not like the Claire Lynch band. This is a cover song not to be missed on CD or in concert. Every member of Claire’s band contributes memorable solo interludes. You could say this is a jazz version of “Wabash.” It certainly feels that way with superlative solo improvisations. You get a hint this is a different version of the old bluegrass standard from Jason Thomas’ mandolin intro. Jim Hurst starts off with an electrifying guitar solo and you wish he’d keep playing forever, but then Missy Raines picks her way through bass notes like a melodic drummer and you wish she would keep playing. Finally Jason Thomas lifts you up with his sparkling mando work and you wish he could somehow slip onto his fiddle for a full Jason Thomas wrap-up of this old favorite.