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CD REVIEW: Chris Stuart – “Angels Of Mineral Springs”
By Stacey Board - 01/18/2003 - 02:52 AM EST

Artist: Chris Stuart
Album: “Angels Of Mineral Springs”
CD Review: Contemporary Country Crossover Pop has been put off this bus on its way to Mineral Springs, so get in and enjoy the ride.

You can’t fake this stuff. You can learn an instrument but you can’t learn the soul of a style of music. You either feel it or you don’t. Rest assured that every second of this record is the real deal. The CD liner notes sum it better than I can improve upon; “rooted in rather than tethered by tradition”. It comes from definite country and bluegrass roots but Chris’s music has its own sound.

The songs are in a traditional story telling structure and have many traditional instruments in the arrangements such as acoustic guitars, mandolin and banjo. But you’ll also find a touch of electric guitar djembe and cello.

“Angels of Mineral Springs”, the title track, is achingly beautiful melodically. It is sweet and sincere in every subtle detail. From the backup vocals to the whispering strings it’s a gorgeous tune and great set of performances.

Chris himself has won first place in both the bluegrass and gospel categories of Merlefest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. In addition to his strong songwriting skills, Chris Stuart has a fine honeyed voice. Pam Daly does lovely backups on many of the songs, and her lead vocal on “Desert Lullaby” is so high and lonesome it gave me genuine chills. All of the players on the CD are excellent musicians.

This is a highly enjoyable CD for any fan of Country and/or bluegrass, and just plain good songwriting and playing.,

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