Thursday, November 18, 2010

Album Review: Lacy J. Dalton - Here's to Hank

One of the most underrated country artists of the eighties pays tribute to her musical hero on this charming self-released collection.  Here's to Hank covers many of the essential classics by the legendary Hank, Sr.  "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Lovesick Blues," and "Hey Good Lookin'" are all included, though "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is surprisingly left out.  In general, the album delves no deeper than the basic inclusions.

This album finds the 64-year-old "16th Avenue" singer still in fine voice, though her vocals do not quite have the same power that they possessed in her younger days.  Regardless, her nuance remains intact, and she nails the emotional aspect of the material.  She does not painstakingly re-create the originals, but instead she adds a few personal touches, though the songs are still clearly recognizable as being Hank's.  Her interpretation of "Hey Good Lookin'" sounds laid-back in comparison to Hank's sprightly original.  Her best performances are often found on ballads such as "Cold Cold Heart," which she sings with an emotional quiver in her voice.

Producer Steven Swinford slightly tweaks the sound of these songs to give a new variation that still stays true to the spirit of the originals.  The arrangement of "Your Cheatin' Heart" includes a touches of percussion and acoustic guitar hooks that were not heard on the original.  Her joyous rendition of "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)," laced with fiddle and cheeky guitar chords, is an absolute delight.  This album as whole, with it's simple traditional-styled arrangement, could hardly be more of a sonic pleasure to listen to.

Lacy doesn't reinvent the wheel on this collection, but we do get a hear a great singer paying homage to a country legend.  Her deep connection to the songs, and her profound respect for the man behind them, are easily discernible, so just pop this disc in for 32 minutes of sweet nostalgia.  Here's to Hank, here's to Lacy, and here's to all the great traditional country music that will never die (despite country radio's best efforts).

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

You can purchase this album at