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VALERIE SMITH 'Turtle Wings'

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In a wonderful follow-up to her impressive and very well received debut album (PATCHWORK HEART), Valerie Smith returns with a stunning collection of songs that are perfect vehicles for her. The songs run the emotional gamut from poignant to nostalgic to despondent to just plain fun, and Ms. Smith has complete command of every one of them, involving the listener thoroughly with a voice that is filled with personality. This is not a Bluegrass album as such, though there is plenty for the Bluegrass fan, and those who have seen her show this past year can attest to the fact that Valerie and her band put on a most entertaining Bluegrass show. Produced again by Alan O'Bryant, there's a lot of variety here, from a couple of up-tempo workouts (BIG OLE TRAIN and Del McCoury's I FEEL THE BLUES MOVIN' IN), to a fine OH MANDOLIN (with Tim O'Brien), a wonderful country swing tune in DANCIN' BY THE RIVER, and three lovely, emotion-packed country styled new songs in SOMEDAY CAME TODAY, TURTLE WINGS and the superb TIMES LIKE THESE. Favorites of mine include the gentle HAND ME DOWN, MAMA'S ROSES and SWEETER FIELD OF CLOVER. Anyone who loves good soulful country style singing should find this super album a real joy.