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ALBUM REVIEW: “Heavy Load” By Michael-Ann

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Michael-Ann’s is the first Americana album in a long time that I not only listened to all the way through, but am getting ready to do so all over again.
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ALBUM REVIEW: Michael-Ann - Heavy Load (MondoTunes) 2013

Straight outta the Ozarks comes Michael-Ann and her rousing Americana-Bluegrass sound, entering into an already crowded marketplace where it’s easy to get lost and, even worse, never heard at all. The good news, however, is that with her classic country voice and throwback background music, her cream quickly rises to the top making it easily assessable for anyone’s enjoyment.

The album is entitled “Heavy Load” and it’s anything but heavy. Sure, there’s a couple of foot-stompers and dance numbers, but this is music meant to be enjoyed while sitting on the front porch on a summer evening, the equivalent of inviting music-minded neighbors over and collaborating on a sweet little jam sesh as the sun goes down. It’s the welcoming of a sound and, even better, a feeling that “Heavy Load” embraces the listener with.

The opener “Any Day” sets the tone well, fiddles proudly a-fiddlin’ as Michael-Ann sings about bills piling up and having mouths to feed, but she’s not griping in a morose woe-is-me style; no, she’s talking about survival. It’s a theme that continues in the title track “Heavy Load,” a faithful semi-empowerment plea for relief of any heavy load that’s incurred in life, be it literal or figurative. It’s a survivalist message that she must be fond of, because it’s continued in the tunes “Troubles to the Wind” and the total barnburner “What Don’t Kill Ya.”

Michael-Ann’s aforementioned classic country voice is best displayed on the slower songs, especially in “Hard to Breathe” and “I Would,” bringing back that clean and clear mid-80s Nashville sound of legends like Reba or the Judds, when singing was from the soul and not through the nose. It’s really beautiful stuff that’s missing from most country music these days.

I’m sent numerous CDs for review every week and, especially being in Oklahoma, most of them are of this variety and, sorry, but most of them barely make it past the first song. Michael-Ann’s is the first Americana album in a long time that I not only listened to all the way through, but am getting ready to do so all over again. This “Heavy Load” is definitely worth picking up.

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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