A Review of the Lisa Deaton & Steve Hicks CD
"This Time Around"

"This Time Around"
by Lisa Deaton & Steve Hicks

This Time ‘Round
Own Label

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 6/05

Lisa (or L.D. as she is known to everyone) is an American living in Georgia. She has a voice redolent of Linda Ronstadt at the height of her powers. Of course, what I should start by saying is that Lisa Deaton sounds like….well, Lisa Deaton. But we don't, do we? It is natural to try and pinpoint a voice in the vast spectrum of voices and try and explain its exact colour.

When it comes to Steve Hicks, I can save my breath to cool my porridge. No point in trying to find parallels here: this bloke seems almost a dazzling "one-off"! Since playing this CD, I have discovered that this guitarist and luthier has a considerable and growing reputation in and around the Leicester UK area where he is based.

This is very much a 50/50 album. Both rightly share equal billing. L.D. chooses "Standards" from the Tradition repertoire, and these are interspersed with instrumentals. Hicks uses a dazzling and bewildering variety of guitar tunings, which at first you might think is a guitarist simply showing off his virtuosity, until you test the pudding by eating it. I have never heard more effective guitar accompaniment. He provides a veritable magic carpet to make the voice and the words really take wing and glide high above the commonplace. This is shown to great effect in Stephen Foster's Hard Times, the standout track. Surely the chewing gum must have lost its flavour for me with this song? Hasn't it been done to death now, and the Law of Diminishing Returns set in? Before hearing this, I might have said "yes", but not after. The sheer wit and imagination of his guitar, bathes the song in what I can only term as an aural sepia glow and helps make L.D.'s pitch-perfect voice deliver those timeless words with that much extra authority.

But I mustn't underrate the singer's contribution: some wonderful breath control at the end of "He Moved Through The Fair", well….it took my breath away, anyway! Tom Ryan's banjo featured strongly on another Foster classic Oh Susannah, and made one wonder why he only featured on two tracks. But not for long: one realises that Steve Hicks's own solo accompaniment is so complete, that there is a danger that any instrumental addition to it adulterates the heady brew, rather than adds to it.

This CD will stay in my collection and not face the fate of many of the previous CDs and books I have reviewed, viz be (unwanted?) birthday and Christmas presents for my relatives. I reckon that must constitute praise indeed.

The CD is obtainable in the UK from Steve at 62 Beechfield Avenue, Birstall, Leicester. LE4 4DA. The price this way is £11.99 including p.&.p. In the USA from Lisa Deaton: enquiries through ldsings@alltel.net

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England.

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