Craig Dillingham,
Almost Yesterday
(Carnival, 2004)

When I first popped Craig Dillingham's CD, Almost Yesterday, in the stereo, I groaned. This was definitely my father's type of oldstyle country music. I looked at the back cover expecting to see some geriatric face looking back at me. I was caught off guard to see that Craig is not all that old!

OK, so I forced myself to listen to this CD all the way through. I have since listened to it several times and have been pleasantly surprised to find out that it isn't all that bad.

A few tracks did grab me. The first was "My Heart is In the Highway." The guitar melody is what first captured my attention. Simple, yet poignant. The song's main message is that while he loves a particular woman, Craig is a traveler at heart. As the lady mentioned in the song said, "Home is where the heart is." As Craig explains, his "heart is in the highway." Hence, he is at home on the road, not in a stationary relationship.

The most touching track is "Thirty Years & a Thousand Miles Away," probably the slowest track on the CD. Craig reaches back in time and distance to his childhood. He recalls his mom and dad. If he could, he would go back and say things he never did as a child.

As this is a country music CD, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that many of the tracks seem to reference drinking. I'm sorry. This is old-time country. I obviously meant "drankin'." If music were alcohol, you would be a few over your limit by the time you finished this CD that clocks in at less than 40 minutes. Maybe the CD should come with a warning not to listen and drive. If you haven't guessed by now, I think this subject came up a bit much -- at least one out of three songs. Is that standard in country music?

Craig was helped by several musicians who obviously know their instruments. Joe Manuel played guitar and also contributed vocals. Hank Singer didn't sing, but he did play fiddle. Joe Spivey was also on fiddle. Steve Henson kicked butt on the steel guitar. Glenn Worf (not related to any Klingons that I know of) was on bass. And finally, Chad Cromwell handled the drums.

Craig Dillingham may not have made me a classic country convert, but he has convinced me that there are reasons folks enjoy this style of music. Almost Yesterday won't make it in to my regular CD rotation because old-time country is not my cup of tea. But I do see myself checking it out occasionally to listen to select tracks. My guess is that fans of this subgenre of country will enjoy what Craig has to offer. His singing is perfect for this style. The musicians play really well together. And there is a lot of drankin' (if you are into that).

by Wil Owen
29 October 2005

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy it from