Rob McNurlin,
Lonesome Valley Again
(Buffalo Skinner, 2003)

Rob McNurlin is an accomplished writer and performer, and he showcases both on this CD. Playing guitar and harmonica as he sings, he gives us 12 original songs and a lovely arrangement of a traditional piece.

From the rather sparse notes, I see that he once considered a career as a preacher. Well, he has become that preacher, all right, but with a wider congregation than any church could provide. His songs have a very real and very moving quality that, while they are not "holier than thou" preachy, do get a message across.

There are folk echoes in many of the songs as may be deduced from some titles like "Tender Maiden's Warning" and "Honest as Water." I liked "Cupid's Last Laugh," which has a lovely storyline and some very good word pictures. The same can be said of his song "Honest as Water." You can almost feel the desert heat in his plaintive voice.

Watch out for track 13. It stops -- and then there is a fascinating extra piece that could so easily get missed. The question is, is an outtake or an experiment? Oh, and Rob, please put the lyrics on the inserts; your diction is good but some of us like to read along, too.

This is a CD of some great songs that each has its own tale to tell. If you like country music as it was meant to be, this is the album for you. McNurlin has a bright future as either a writer or singer, or perhaps both. Get in on the ground floor and invest in his career by getting this CD.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 10 January 2004

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