the future of country?

Crystal Ball (Music Man)
various artists

By Michael W. Stout

Fairy tales and fables lead us to believe that the future can be read by merely gazing into a crystal ball. This album is "a glimpse of tomorrow's stars through a country Crystal Ball," according to the liner notes. Looking into this country crystal ball, I see that some of the local artists on this album are on a crystal clear path to stardom, while others have a cloudy road ahead.

Among the artists I believe to be on the road to fame are Karen Kraft, Ron Peake, and Tammy Moses. Karen Kraft's voice is a pleasant blend of Barbara Mandrell's smoothness and Loretta Lynn's twang. She shines on the haunting ballad, "Shoebox Souvenirs," and the up-tempo "We Go Together." Ron Peake sounds like Merle Haggard and Clay Walker rolled into one on his sentimental "How'd You Know" and his honky-tonkin', steel guitar playing, "The Proof's Here In My Hands."

D. V. Gilbert offers a hint of George Jones on his heartbroken, pure country, "Blue Lonely World." The Other Smothers Brothers very convincingly try to reaffirm their love on their "Think Again." Terry Tyler's voice is as smooth as silk on his "I Don't Have The Heart," while Tammy Moses sounds refreshingly like Juice Newton on her helplessly doubting "I Can't Believe."