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Our Side of Town
Artist: Various
Label: Red House
Length: 17 tracks
Label-driven compilation CD's offering independent artists can be somewhat problematic. There may be a lesser or greater degree of quality from each artist creating an uneven work. Then, there's the problem of the variety of music fragmenting the presentation leaving the finished product disjointed. The intention of such a release, of course, is to draw one's attention to the artists and the label.  That being said, Our Side of Townfrom Red House Records has successfully dodged these pitfalls.  This promotional CD is made of artists who represent the growing field of hard-to-categorize Americana musicians.  This offering brings some of the best veterans and most promising newcomers to light signaling a label promotion with both vision and purpose.  
This CD provides examples of how fine roots musicians can be when not saddled with the pressure to be commercially accessible for the sole purpose of radio play and market success.  Not to say these are not potentially successful works in today's radio market.  But these artists represent innovation and originality, qualities lacking in most radio country airplay and chart success stories.  Like the old front-porch blues and country musicians of times past, these artists give us uncompromising soul onthis collection of original songs.  
Familiar veterans like Greg Brown bring stark stories dripping with blues on his song, "Wet + Dark + Cold."   The appealing light, country-rock offering by Jimmy La Faye on "Hide Away Girl,"  contrast nicely with darker songs.  There is also a fine track by Robin and Linda Williams, "Together All Alone,"  representing the contemporary folk medium.  The unmistakable highlight of this CD is delivered by Ray Bonneville on his song, "I Am The Big Easy," which personifies the beautiful, tragic city of New Orleans. 
This CD certainly succeeds in wetting the listeners appetite for a further look at all of the artists work on this diverse collection of Americana songs.  But,it also works as a stand-alone work offering the best this genre of music has to offer. 
Terry Roland
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