Michael Reno Harrell

Second Wind – 1999 (Rank)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

CDs by Michael Reno Harrell

Michael Reno Harrell penned all the songs on this Americana album of country and bluegrass, and they reflect the thoughts of a talented writer. He certainly avoids a common complaint about today's country music, for the mood and sound vary widely. You find yourself listening to the stories as well as the music for his songs are not drums and a wall of sound, they're about life.

Think of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band singing Tom T. Hall. The music is impeccable with Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas spread throughout, to name just two. From love on the road in "Coast of Texas" to something too sinister to name in "Del Rio" ("He said they walk the night and fear the light...We huddled in a boxcar and sharpened twenty stakes"), he tells stories.

It starts with straight country ("Good News") and ends with wise reflection and good advice, "As you grow older may you grow wiser, Be a spender not a miser." This isn't a CD you play just to make sound, it's for listening.