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Kelly Willis Kelly Willis
Album: Back Being Blue
Label: Premium
Tracks: 10

Kelly Willis' new album Back Being Blue is her long awaited seventh studio album which features both songs written by Willis herself, with others, including none other than Rodney Crowell, and songs carefully chosen to cover by Willis. It is her first solo project since 2007; in the time between, she has worked on projects with songwriter husband, Bruce Robison.

Back Being blue was, in fact, produced by Robison, at home in Texas. Unusually, he opted for a traditional analogue style, which left me a little unsure what to expect. Rest assured, this recording method adds a distinctive sound to the CD. Other than Crowell, the album features appernces by such names as Eleanor Whitmore from The Mastersons and Steve Earle and the Dukes and Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens, so there is no shortage of talent.

The title track is the most fun song of the collection, whilst the others perfectly demonstrate Kelly's prowess as both a songwriter and interpreter of others' songs. She has a gift for making a song her own, whilst retaining the integrity of the original version. Throughout the whole CD, there can be no doubt whatsoever about the quality and range of Willis, vocals.

A welcome return to solo material for Kelly Willis and I am excited to see her perform with her band on the SummerTyne show of her UK tour, at Sage, Gateshead, in July.

Helen Mitchell