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Erin Hay

The Collection – 2006 (Western Heart)

Reviewed by Steven Freedman

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CDs by Erin Hay

Peppered with a diverse array of mostly well-chosen songs is what Erin Hay's fourth CD is all about. It's actually a 23-song compilation of material from her first 3 CDs and 5 tracks from her upcoming effort, "Blue Country Song."

As a musical anthology, the selections, with few exceptions, prove to be a showcase for Hay's strong vocal abilities. She's adept at taking on everything from ballads such as the somber and haunting "Midnight at the Old Soldiers' Home" (co-written by Hay and her producer, Lonnie Ratliff) to the rollicking pop of "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" and "I'd Be in Memphis."

Hay typically includes covers, and they are well represented here. Her rendition of Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 mega-hit "Harper Valley PTA" is a good imitation of the original, but doesn't quite pack the same punch. However, her laid-back interpretation of John Denver's classic "Take Me Home Country Roads" is nothing less than remarkable.

The beauty of this disc is that it condenses Hay's best material and presents it in a neat little package. In the aggregate, this "Collection" is worth the buy.