Album Reviews

Laura Cantrell – Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music (Diesel Only)




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A lesson in serendipity: in 2009, Laura Cantrell is asked to participate in a program devoted to the Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells. She accepts the invitation and in the course of preparing for that performance she is reminded how much Wells’ music has meant to her. That realization sows the seeds for this excellent tribute album, where love for the music and conviction pour out of every note.

Of the ten tracks on the album, nine were most memorably recorded by Wells. The lone original is the title song, which Cantrell co-wrote with Amy Allison. The song uses Kitty’s wardrobe, simple and unadorned, as a metaphor for her music. The same metaphor could be used for Cantrell’s sweet, note-perfect delivery of the material here. Throughout this album, Cantrell does an amazing job of invoking Wells’ music, without sounding even remotely similar to her. It’s heart music, and heart is something Laura Cantrell brings to everything she does.

Cantrell says she made this album “with a great group of musicians dedicated to playing country music with a sense of craft and history. I sincerely hope that listeners will rediscover the beauty and resilience of Kitty Wells and her music.” Mission accomplished.

– Steve Frazier

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