Sunday, February 5, 2012

CD Review: "When Country Meets Dixie" - Dukes of Dixieland and The Oak Ridge Boys

CD: "When Country Meets Dixie"
Artists: Dukes of Dixieland and the Oak Ridge Boys
Label: Leisure Music Group
Release Date: 2/28/12

There is nothing more southern than the sound of New Orlean's style Dixieland jazz, but when you throw in a splash of country, you have the ingredients that result in one big bowl of  musical jambalaya!

Now some country fans aren't Dixieland friendly and some Dixieland fans aren't into country so when these two groups decided to get together and see what happens, the result is something that actually makes a great combination called "country/dixie". Why not? The current trend of country is to blend it with every other genre of music from pop to rock to hip hop so why not try blending with the Dixie sound and see what happens? What happens is a 12 song project called "When Country Meets Dixie" and unexpectedly enough, it comes together quite well. The Oak Ridge Boys could sing into 2 Progressive soup cans joined by a string and it would sound good, those boys can sing anything, anytime, anywhere. The Dukes of Dixieland are a group of musicians that would make Louis Armstrong proud. You throw them together with country newcomer Lathan Moore and artists Callaway McCord, Bobby John Henry and Wesley Probst and you have a combination that one can only describe as interestingly good.

The lead in track, "That's What I Like About the South" immediately throws you onto Bourbon Street in a dark, smoke filled jazz joint. That's what I love about this song, the visualization and the fact that right off the bat my toes are tapping. This could be dangerous! The track fades into the first song from Lathan Moore, "Are You From Dixie" and Lathan makes me proud to say "why yes, yes I am from Dixie, thank you". His country voice does a jazz band good! The Oaks take on a "dixie-fied" version of the classic "Just A Little Talk with Jesus" and I think Jesus would like it. You can't go wrong with dixie'd up gospel. The next couple of tracks, "Fatback Lousiana" and "Back in New Orleans" don't really do much for me. This brings us to "Bobby Sue" by the Oak Ridge Boys. This version just didn't work for me. I would have rather heard what they could do with another one like "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight". I think that would be been great! I know, I know, me not like an Oaks song? I've always liked the song, I just don't care for this particular version. Now the next song, "Jambalaya / I'm Walkin'/ Toot Toot" by Callaway McCord was one I do like, I've always loved all three of those songs and really like this mash up. It definitely had me singing along and moving the toes again. One of the standout songs on this cd, in my opinion, is Lathan Moore's "Closer Walk With Thee" which is track #6. I know I am skipping around, but I'm trying to cover the best of the bases without boring you to death with a critique of each and every song. Are all the songs great, no. Are those that aren't great bad? No. They're just average but that's expected on a cd and true to expectation, that's why you get here. The cd wraps up with my favorite song, one that's close to my heart and that's the Oaks most well known and most loved hit, "Elvira" which made it's debut 30 years ago! This version stays pretty true to the original yet has a real New Orleans marching band style of "oom poppa mow mow" to it that definitely gives it that interesting 'Nawlins flavor.

So ... is everyone gonna like it? Probably not. Is everyone gonna hate it? Definitely not. It's one of those mixes that is gonna appeal to a certain group of music listeners, the ones with the ears that are willing to listen to a new musical blend and not try to discern country from dixie, but instead hear it as a whole. All in all, I think it works quite well. I think it's a great project and one that the artists involved can be proud of.

The cd goes on sale February 28, 2012 and will be available on the Dukes of Dixieland official website and other outlets (TBA Later).

No comments: