Felicity Urquhart’s last record, My Life, was a very appealing collection of ‘pretty’ (not a pejorative) pop-country songs and some more rocking material. It was a very good record, but in light of her most recent release, Landing Lights, it’s clear that My Life was Felicity doing what was expected of a country music singer-songwriter at that point of her career in Australia (or the US) – because, while there was a lot to like on MyLife, Landing Lights is a superior album.
Landing Lights is a satisfyingly eclectic gathering of songs that Urquhart has co-written with one usual suspect (Randy Scruggs) and some new co-conspirators. Karl Broadie’s fingerprints are all over ‘So Go On’ – an up-tempo toe tapper that has me smiling every time I hear it – while Kim Richey brings her melancholy bent (and some vocals) to ‘All Good Fun’. The unexpected collaborators include Nick Barker and Michael Spiby; the tunes co-written with Barker, ‘Two Wheels’ and ‘Bed & Breakfast’, are undoubtedly the ‘tougher’ songs on the album. Urquhart’s two co-writes with Robert Lee Castleman, ‘Little Cricket’ and ‘Time for a Change’, are complex, delicate and dark songs. The title track is a masterpiece of wistfulness and yearning.
There are only two ‘radio songs’ – ‘Girl in the Mall’, written with Mark Seymour, and ‘Ernie’s Daughter’- but I only call them that because they fallen some melodic and lyric conventions that will appeal to the traditional country music listenership.
Through all the different styles of songs – the tales of life, love and loss – soars Urquhart’s beautiful voice. When I first saw her play live I couldn’t get over how amazing that voice is, and couldn’t understand why more people didn’t know about it.
Landing Lights is more than the sum of its very fine parts. While I find myself listening more to the sweet-melodied songs – coincidentally, the even-numbered tracks – there’s not a single song on this CD I don’t like. The album is the mark of a confident, talented performer and songwriter who should find a big, big audience.
Cowboy Bills Radio from Key West Florida officially launched at Midnight Eastern on July 1st. Created by Woody Nelson, and voiced by Freddy Snakeskin and Pyke, the station can be heard 24 Hours a day in HD at http://www.cowboybillsradio.com . The Format is an Upbeat blend of current and classic country music with a big Honky tonk Sound designed to reflect the vibe of Cowboy Bills in Key West which is the Southernmost Country Honky Tonk in the Continental U.S.A.