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HAPPY TEXAS: SOUNDTRACK

There used to be two schools of musical appreciation. For one, country music would elicit a joyful feeling somewhat akin to that cheerful, backwoods sense of community found in a "town without a frown"; for the other, country music would elicit a less joyful feeling more akin to a spurred cowboy boot to the rear end. In recent years, the dichotomy has blurred, with the successful country-pop crossovers of Garth Brooks and Shania Twain washing away the stigma of Billy Ray Cyrusís emetic-like Achy, Breaky Heart.

Here, there is less commercial slick, but plenty of fine musicianship and surprising diversity. From Emmylou Harrisís Ordinary Heart, which resides in country heartland where the appeal is simplicity delivered with character, to the spicy Mexican rhythms of Flaco Jimenezís Baila Este Ritmo, there is a sweep of emotional texture not always associated with the genre. The most widely accessible moment is Alison Kraussís sweetly plaintive Stay (which would be a sure fire diamond-seller for folk-popstress Jewel); and even the few down-home ditties that might threaten to send the most bush-bred-to-the-bootstraps cowboy into a coma and his horse into hibernation are redeemed with unpretentious humour: "donít you think itís time for me to end this songÖ me neither."

Those who still consider country music to be the aural equivalent of a saddle sore wonít find this sonic country beast a comfortable ride, but it should find appeal beyond the old boundaries of Tennessee, Texas, Tamworth and Truck Radios. Highly recommend to genuine and nascent country music enthusiasts, those "coming out" of the country closet and escaped convicts posing as Emmylou Harris fans.
Brad Green

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SOUNDTRACK: HAPPY TEXAS

TITLE: Happy Texas

ID: 07822-18898-2
Arista/Miramax

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Fletcher Foster

FEATURED ARTISTS: Randy Scruggs, Joan Osborne, Kim Richey, Carly Fink, Lee Roy Parnell, Kebí Moí, Emmylou Harris, Flaco Jimenez, Parn Tillis, Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Shannon Brown, Yma Sumac, BR5-49, Robert Earl Keen, The Road Kings, Abra Moore, The Happy Girls

TRACKS: 11







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