CD reviews

Francie Ganje

REVIEW

DRIVE FAST OR DANCE
Francie Ganje, Producer, Heritage of the American West Performance Series
News Development, Broadcaster, KBHB Radio 81AM, the Big 81, South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame

This album allows the artist to roll out her talent in a big way.  The thing I love about the body of work is that it can’t be boxed in.  That’s unique to country music because at times, one sound can lead into another and another, and…..not this album.

The arrangements; on each of these tracks, there is an originality.  For example; “The New Stuff.” From the first note….goosebumps.  I might not have listened to “Gentle On My Mind,” had that masterful intro not convinced me to stay with the song.  Throughout the album, the use of electric and steel guitars, harpsichord, and I swear I heard a xylophone. I think Kim ‘hears’ all of this in her head before she ever sits down to record.

For every instrument this artist plays, she manages to put it towards just the right tempo, verse or chorus.  “Come Take A Ride On My Airship” is a perfect blend. Original titles where her talents really shine include, “Sing That Song.”

Still, her cover of “By The Mark,” is my favorite. The voice and spirit put into this recording really moved me.

Kim’s vocals are true and mature. From a professional and emotional wellspring found in experience and curiosity. There’s no substitute for that.  You can’t ‘learn’ that.  It comes from living. Life makes it’s own playlist. Add “Drive Fast Or Dance,” to yours.

To summarize, this album has such freedom and capacity, that to try and describe what to expect would be a waste of words.  Just listen to it.

MY NOTES WHILE LISTENING. 
*An aside….I didn’t read the album notes before listening to “Drive Fast or Dance.”  I made my Top Picks as I went along and THEN turned it over and read them.  Check it out!

 “The New Stuff”  From the first note….goosebumps. From lyrics and arrangement, meter and tempo, to that twang and steel guitar.   There’s some real heat to this number. Mover over Wynonna.  *Top Pick

“Blanket on the Ground”    Listen to that harpsichord. Soft, light as a breeze, xylophone is a nice touch.  I don’t remember that instrument in the original. Took me back

“Flowers on the Wall”   Fun cover.  Liked the guitar picking.     

“Help Me Make It Through the Night”   Beautifully played. Beautifully sung.

“By The Mark”  Love, love this cover.  Such a great old, old time country flavor and sound. Gillian Welch is one of my favorite artists.  Such an easy listen. And so heartfelt.  *Top Pick

“Come Take A Ride In My Airship”   The spoken word in music is especially moving from this artist.  A perfect blend on this song. Instrumentation is especially soulful. I will sing this to my grandbabies…  *Top Pick

“Me Oh My”    Rockabilly at its best.  Can hear the personal experience in this song. Hahahaha!  Me, oh, my…..indeed.  *Top Pick

“Gentle On My Mind”    There are some artists and songs that I think just shouldn’t be covered.  Even though “Gentle On My Mind” has been covered by a number of artists, when I saw this title on Kim’s album, my heart sunk a bit. I’m so glad I gave it a listen.  The intro got me into it right away.  Just lovely.  It’s so nicely done. Kim’s vocals do this song justice and I feel, keep it true to its American folk origin.

“Claudia”      Fun, party, in-your-face song.  *Top Pick

“I’ve Seen Some Things”  Lyrics are amazing….

“Sing That Song”   Folk mixed with enough country and early 60’s pop to make it really memorable.  Man, what a great combination on this song!  *Top Pick

“Jackson”   Always one of my favorites from this artist.  She just gets it – the whole story behind that song.  *Top Pick