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Doug and Telisha Williams

Rope Around My Heart – 2006 (No Evil)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Doug and Telisha Williams

Doug and Telisha Williams are a husband-wife acoustic song-slinging team, hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, offering up a dozen songs to warm your heart on a long winter's eve. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Miles Wilkinson, the disc is a homespun honky tonk tale worth hearing.

The duo is joined by a host of Americana amigos, including multi-instrumentalists and sought-after Nashville session players Darrell Scott and Kenny Malone. Greencards' fiddler Eamon McLoughlin also nicely complements the Williams' acoustic sound.

Ten originals are paired with a couple of covers, which includes one of the most depressing versions of "Long Black Veil" ever put to disc. This haunting song tells the tale of a lover being hung and put to death for a crime he didn't commit, but had to admit to because he was "in the arms of his best friend's wife." While the song is meant to be a dirge, the morose treatment and the sorrowful timbre in Telisha's delivery are a little over-the-top, and it detracts from the inherent beautiful despair this song normally evokes.

"Our Town," the other cover, is an Iris Dement number given a fresh take. In turn, it's one of the record's more memorable tracks. Marked by honey harmony throughout, once this duo lassoes the listener with their raw lyrics and storied songs, you'll find yourself spinning the record again and again. (www.DandTW.com)