Album review: SARAH DUNN BAND – You Or The Whiskey

Sarah Dunn Band - You Or The Whiskey

Audacity Records [Release date 19.08.14]

When you hear the opening bars of ‘Finish What You Started’ – the opening number on You Or The Whiskey – a mix of Southern blues rock, rootsy fiddle and mandolin, a crisp production and some ballsy female vocals, the initial reaction is – ‘interesting’.

But shift into the second number ‘Backwoods Party’ and alarm bells start to ring with the line ‘Hell yeah, yee-haw!  You’ve got me goin’ crazy with that sexy Southern drawl’.  Let’s be honest, any song that contains ‘yee-haw’ deserves to be viewed with a degree of scepticism.

What I was reminded of most listening to You Or The Whiskey was Shania Twain, not so much the artist, but the similarities in the way she exploded onto the scene in the mid- nineties with tongue in cheek numbers like ‘Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?’ and ‘(If You’re Not In It ForLove) I’m Outta Here! – huge slices of crossover pop aimed at the heart of the American mainstream charts.

Nurtured by her parents from a tender age, Sarah Dunn paid her dues playing honky tonks and dives from the age of 13.  Now 25, and with a band with collective credentials including Vince Gill, Tim McGraw and Reba McIntyre, her debut is a highly polished set.

Produced in Nashville (where else?), the Sarah Dunn Band are pushing hard to get their cowboy booted feet, and Sarah’s in particular, through the glitzy door marked ‘Success’.  You Or The Whiskey aimed – it seems to me quite deliberately – at the American Idol audience.

And that’s the rub for the more discerning listener, the album comes across as somewhat ‘manufactured’.  But if a major TV network was to update The Beverly Hillbillies, Sarah Dunn would make the perfect Elly May, and with cousin Jethro on guitar, and Granny and Jed on fiddle and mandolin, You Or The Whiskey the perfect soundtrack.  Now there’s an idea …  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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