LAST SOUTHERN BELLE
CATFOOD RECORDS CFR–023
DRIVING TOWARD THE SUN–HEADIN’ OUT ON EMPTY–LAST SOUTHERN BELLE–SOUTHLAND RULES–SOUTHERN WOMAN–FAMILY REUNION DAY–TATTOO (THAT I CAN’T UNDO)–THE NOTHING IN YOUR EYES–HALLELUJAH HILL–WATER RUN DEEP–BOYS OF SHILOH
We’ve been fans of Sandy Carroll for quite some time, and with a voice that goes down as smooth as a swig of mint julep on Derby Day, we’re sure you’ll love her, too. A true woman of the South, Sandy grew up not all that far away from us, down in West Tennessee. She’s just released her third album for Catfood Records, “Last Southern Belle,” and it is eleven originals that paint a vivid picture of the Southland she’s been a part of for all her life. This one also was produced by her multi-Grammy-winning husband, Jim Gaines, and it is one of her strongest albums to date.
A broken relationship where “we both tried, and nobody won,” has her “Driving Toward The Sun” looking for redemption, while “Headin’ Out On Empty” is her only means of escaping an abusive lover. Both feature sweet guitar from Will McFarlane.
Traditional Southern themes are addressed herein, too. The humorous “Southland Rules” such as being sure to “put your hand over your heart every time they play Dixie” has a New Orleans spin, thanks to Mark Narmore’s piano. “Family Reunion Day” brings back a flood of wistful memories, and the power of the church in the South is well-represented by “Water Run Deep,” and the brooding, percussive “road to righteousness” that leads to the zenith of “Hallelujah Hill.”
We had two favorites, too. Excellent guitar paces Sandy’s vocal on the tale of mistakes made due to youthful lust, the “Tattoo (That I Can’t Undo)”. The set closes on a haunting note as Thelton Vanderford’s banjo and Glen Harrell’s fiddle add to the other-worldly vibe of Sandy’s whispered vocal in “The Boys Of Shiloh, dressed in the Blue and the Gray.” That battlefield is located not far from Sandy’s homeland, also.
Sandy Carroll is the epitome’ of today’s Southern woman. “Last Southern Belle” stands firm on her beliefs and truths that she has upheld her entire life, and us music fans are much the richer for it! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.