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


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 22 November.

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 15 November 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 17 November 2020

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Featured Albums w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 JEFF SCOTT SOTO Wide Awake (In My Dreamland) (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 LAZARUS DREAM Alive (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 RONAN FURLONG The King Of Leaves (Thoroughbred Music)

Power Plays w/c 23 November (Mon-Fri)

L.A. GUNS All That You Are (Golden Robot Records)
THE DUST CODA Limbo Man (Earache)
IRON SAVIOR Souleater (AFM Records)
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