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Highways and Dance Halls
Artist:  Tyler England
Label:  Capitol Records
Length:  12 Tracks

As most country artists, Tyler England grew up listening to the best of the south thanks to his grandfather turning him onto the classic artists in the genre.  England fell in love with singers like Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzel throughout his childhood and he always sought to follow a similar pattern of musicianship.  As he grew older, England hung out with a lot of musicians, particularly in college where he met Garth Brooks. 

The two grew in friendship and in a business sense, which resulted in Brooks asking England to tour with him shortly after he got his record deal.  England's role in the band was to play guitar and his life on the road gave him the inspiration to play, sing, and record a record of his own.  His latest project Highways and Dance Halls comes four years after Two Years to Fall, which followed 1995's self-titled debut. 

England's latest shows some of his early influences, as well as those he's worked with during the last decade, like Brooks.  He teams up with Steve Wariner for "Should've Asked Her Faster," during which Wariner lends his guitar playing and scatting skills.  The opening cut "My Baby No Esta Aqui" is a fiddle driven future hit, as is the island beat of "I'd Rather Have Nothing," in which England pays his tribute to Jimmy Buffet.  Of course the album must have a few of those love songs so common in the country market.  The best one on this disc is "Forever," which features a full orchestra. 

Based on England's track record, he's bound to get a lot of attention over the release.  However, it's inevitable that a lot of that will stem from his past with Brooks, as well as the fact that he produced the record.  England deserves to stand on his own and hopefully listeners will get into the record for who he is as an artist rather than who he's played with in a band. 

Andy Argyrakis  1/28/2001


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