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Libby KochLibby Koch
Album: Just Move On
Label: Berkalin
Tracks: 11
Website: http:///www.libbykoch.com

This is a record of "cryin' and leavin' country songs", according to Libby Koch - or "fun songs" as she quipped in one newspaper feature interview.

While the eleven tracks tracks are primarily about sticking the chin out, taking a deep breath and sliding the packed-up car into first gear, leaving lovelorn times, domestic upset and attendant disappointments behind, they provide a spirited romp with big, dark ballads tossed in as well to counter the overall jauntiness.

Its feverishly, dogged tones sound all the better from live-track performances, gleaned from a quick-fire, two-day gathering under the watchful guidance of Grammy-winning engineer/producer, Bil Vorndick, whose work with a host of country and bluegrass stars such as Marty Robbins, Alison Krauss, and the late, Ralph Stanley, has brought him great credit.

Without feeling guilty, Libby Koch (pronounced like the famous soft drink), decided to forsake an 80-hour-a-week, legal eagle job in Houston to hit the musical road in 2013. Hard touring and performing has honed the Texan's ability not only to write confidently alone, or with others, but also to sing in a stirring style that's confident, warming and clear-cut. She freely admits that Suzy Bogguss, Tricia Yearwood and Patty Loveless were among those to whom she looked for inspiration - but, please, don't overlook her own sparkle.

Tracks may have titles such as Just Move On, Out Of My Misery and Tell Me No Lies (where she sings: "I was too young to know better / Now I'm too old to care") but there's a constant upbeat feel with spry and lucid lyrics where she resolutely does not allow maudlin to enter the fray. On a delicious ballad, Lady Luck, Libby declares with no little defiance: "Seems your lady luck has gone / One false step, boy she moved on".

Libby's excellent band charges along with her, all buoyed up and vibrant, bringing to the songs a vitality or "fun" that she was determined to deliver. This is a daring and lively album underpinned by Libby's undoubted enthusiasm, deep-rooted country mood and sharp songwriting skills.

Mike Ritchie
www.mikeritchiemedia.co.uk