CD REVIEW - Donna Beasley- Good Samaritan
By Rick Marchetti - 07/15/2007 - 08:09 PM EDT
Artist: Donna Beasley
Album: Good Samaritan
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Run the Roads, There's a Reason, After Dark
If my entire vocabulary consisted of only one word, I could still review Donna Beasley's CD, "Good Samaritan", provided that one word was "WOW". A lot of singer/songwriters seem to release albums with 3 or 5 really good songs, some of which may have a legitimate shot at being cut by mainstream artists, and then throw in 6 or 8 of what are usually referred to as "album cuts" or "B-sides". That isn't enough to get you noticed by the powers-that-be in Nashville, or any of the other music centers, any more. Happily, Ms. Beasley doesn't have that problem. This is a strong, strong collection of songs, from the Appalachain-tinged "Run the Roads", which features an outro the Jordanaires would have been proud of, to the incredibly sexy, sultry "After Dark". The title cut, "Good Samaritan", gets things started off nicely, with a solid vocal over a drumbeat that seems, at first listen, to be off the beat ( a really cool effect, by the way), but only serves to draw you into the feel; smoky and sexy. "Cotton" is a kind of jazzy country; kind of 'Steely Dan Does Nashville'. "No One Here By That Name" is straight-ahead country - something you can hear in any cowboy bar, just better than most. I could go on, song by song, but you get the idea.
Clearly, Ms. Beasley isn't limited to any one style and, in all honesty, she does them all very, very well. If I had to make one comment, though, her vocals tend to get a little 'nasally' in some of the upper registers. She can hit the notes, but her voice thins out; enough to distract a bit, but not enough to ruin the mood. Also, like most writers, she has some weak moments when her lyrics left me thinking that she went with the easy rhyme rather than working a little harder and coming up with a unique way of saying what she was aiming for. And, believe you me, she is a talented enough writer to get to that "uniqueness" that's missing here and there.
Overall, I'd say this is a very, very good record and the couple things I pointed out didn't detract from my enjoyment of it at all. I, for one, hope Donna Beasley is planning on doing another project, because I'll be first in line to buy my copy.
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