Fri Apr 09, 2010

The country market is filled with great singers, talented songwriters and larger than life performers. That is why it is refreshing to hear a CD that has it all.

Don Graham: A Willing HeartThis new CD by veteran country rock artist, Don Graham (a founding member of Graham County) has it all. Great story telling songs, amazing production, infectious guitar lines and most of all a voice that will keep you hooked from the first song.

The first track, “GOT WHAT IT TAKES”, says it all. ‘An everyday man of everyday means at home in my t-shirt and my old blue jeans’ captures the image of an average man who is comfortable in his own skin.

Track 2, “DUG A HOLE” is along the same lines, a southern front porch, swampy kind of feel with a great hook. By the time I hit the 3rd track “THE WORLD DIDN’T END” I started to realize that this CD had a thread of a story to it. In this day of digital downloads and iPod shuffles, how refreshing to hear something with continuity to it.

The whole running order of songs one through eleven kept this pattern going. The production was excellent as well. Produced by another musical veteran BILL HILL (producer of April Wine, Natural Gas and guitarist for Canadian legacy artists, JB & The Playboys) Hill was a long time bandmate of Graham’s and the obvious production value shows the history of their work together. The guitar work of ANDREW HILL (Bill Hill’s son) is superb and throughout the entire CD it sounds like the band is genuinely enjoying themselves.

“COMO TE AMO” is a unique story of going on holiday in Mexico, falling in love and not understanding the language; a situation many of us have experienced on vacation. Other songs are wistful, “THERE’S NOBODY THERE” and “ALWAYS LOOKING BACK” are haunting and true to life for many.

The title track of the CD, “A WILLING HEART” shows that ‘love will always find a way’ and the optimism of this song leaves you feeling like there is always new life, new love just around the corner if you just let it in.

“GOT WHAT IT TAKES” is the first single release from Don Graham’s CD, and after listening to this CD over and over again the words ring true – Don Graham has Got What It Takes.