Hal Ketchum - Lucky Man
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Lucky Man (Curb, 2001)

Hal Ketchum

Reviewed by Rick Bell

Hal Ketchum's latest album may have been the unfortunate victim of bad timing. Released just days before the Sept. 11 tragedies, Ketchum nonetheless has assembled a collection of 12 songs that run from catchy pop tunes to country shuffles to thoughtful, evocative ballads.

What's perhaps most special here - there are any number of musical and lyrical highlights - is the collection of singers employed by Ketchum and veteran singer-songwriter-producer Rodney Crowell. Though Ketchum's prowess as a country singer is at best workmanlike, crooners like ex-New Grass Revival lead singer John Cowan and former Poco and Eagles member Timothy B Schmit and even the pseudo-country band Ricochet blend amazingly well as background vocalists on several cuts. "Two of the Lucky Ones," a duet with Dolly Parton, is a little stiff with way too much warbling, but Ketchum more than makes up for it on the touching "Keep Mom and Dad in Love," a duet with Canadian singer Lisa Brokop. The duets aren't just window dressing. The depth of songwriting and musicianship that have become Ketchum's hallmark remain intact, yet it's Crowell's Spanish-tinged "Dreams of Martina" that really stands out.

Bad timing aside, Ketchum's latest is a solid effort. With all the voices behind Ketchum's, there's plenty to hear.

CDs by Hal Ketchum

I'm the Troubadour, 2014 Father Time, 2008

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