Review by Bob Everhart, National Traditional Country Music Association (NTCMA)
Wow, I've been waiting for “Backroads, Bottles & Blues” for a long time. I can finally say, 'Hey Nashville, take a few steps back while a real country song and artist takes front and center stage. Well, maybe not just a few steps, take a lot of steps back, (because) here's a country album that a whole big bunch of people have been waiting for a long time to hear."
This review is going to be hard for me because it contains so many of the elements that made country music in America such a beloved genre of music and certainly a musical style and treat we don't hear anymore on “so-called” country radio. The very first track on Luanne’s CD, “The Rhythm,” is the best song on this album. It has all the elements that a true country music lover is always looking for. The fiddle is back but it's not just a background instrument. It takes a forceful lead that’s just right for the melody line and is done so incredibly well, you'd think you'd just taken a step back in time.
There's also a great piano player on this session too. It sounds like an old upright, and honky-tonk for sure, and the style this player is using brings it to the forefront, (making it) so easy to listen to. The electric guitar also is there and it's honky-tonkin' too. Drums (are on the track) too, but tastefully done in the background, not as a lead instrument. All the elements are on this one and best of all is Luanne Hunt’s incredibly good 'hillbilly voice' that fits this music so very nicely. She brings the true country sound back to us and has that 'just right' drawl that makes her country. But she has a beautiful voice, too, that totally complements the song.
"The Rhythm" has all the words that are missing in today's “so-called” country music. It's also interesting because it was written by Dave Berg, co-producer of NBC's "Tonight Show" during all the Jay Leno years. So why is he writing country music? He always has and this 'gem' is one that Nashville should be scared of because it could very well take all of the true country music fans right back where they want to be.....among real country music.
Nashville can call Australian rock and roll country music, but they aren't quite sure, huh? Luanne Hunt can sing a country song and the instant you hear it you KNOW this is what we liked about country music in the past so much. One thing is sure, corporate decision makers still control all that they own, but they don't own Luanne Hunt, so I'll be looking forward to something wonderful to happen to her with this release.
There also are some incredibly good additional country songs on “Backroads, Bottles & Blues,” most of them written by Steve Hunt, Luanne's husband. On these tracks, we get to hear some incredibly good harmonica, as well as the other typical country music instruments.
This whole session takes us through a wonderful trip down memory lane, as well as a step forward in how real country music could sound today.
Much congratulations to Luanne Hunt, her husband Steve and Dave Berg for giving us the opportunity to restore our faith in the American country (music) spirit.