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Eli BarsiEli Barsi
Album: Portrait Of A Cowgirl
Label: Red Truck International
Tracks: 12

A Canadian of Hungarian heritage, based in Nashville Barsi's a new name on my radar, but turns out to have already released 12 albums, the first in 1995, embracing gospel, bluegrass, country and prairie music, complete with yodelling. As the title and the clothes and hat on the back cover photo suggests, this is very much old time Western music, kicking off with Farm Girl, an upbeat autobiographical statement of self, banjo, lap steel, acoustic guitar and dobro to the fore, that sets the scene for what follows. There's no clouds here, the songs persistently sunny and romantic, among them Brett Kissel duet "A Real Partner" and "Wild Flowers For Me", even when they're about your man always taking off to do his job, as on mid-tempo "He'll Be Back Again" with its restless rodeo rider and the cowboy cattle herder of the waltzing "God Only Knows".

Both "Hitch Your Wagon To A Star" and "Windows of the West" are about following your dream, while, returning to a personal note, the rolling train-rhythm title track is all about her mother. Musically, it doesn't stray far from the core country template, although both the pretty much self-descriptive "Country Music Was Made For Saturday Night" and "Prairie Skies" see her riding the Western Swing trail and, as befits someone who once got to play Jerry Lee Lewis's piano, "Big Hat No Cattle" is a stomping country rock n roller with twangy guitar and pumping ivories as she tells some faux cowboy with a phony Texas drawl to skedaddle . There's nothing new here, but Bari's undeniably accomplished in her chosen genre and the album sounds great cranked up and cruising, although it would probably help if you had a few hundred miles of wide open space to do it in.

Mike Davies