Erin Enderlin - Faulkner County
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Faulkner County (Blue Slate, 2019)

Erin Enderlin

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

The second full-length release from Nashville-based singer/songwriter Erin Enderlin is an appealing throwback to mainstream '90s country music. Dark themes permeate much of the album as with the haunting ballad "Hometown Jersey" about a high school athlete seemingly destined for greatness ("He had a Troy Aikman arm, even as a kid"), who dies tragically in a car crash and is laid to rest in his football jersey. The song features harmony vocals from Terri Clark.

The mournful "Broken" is the tale of a young mother in a troubled relationship, who makes the difficult choice to give up her child ("We had a baby and oh I loved him dearly/So I saw clearly the choice that must be made/I hope that family holds him like I couldn't/It was the only way I knew to get him raised").

Enderlin's reverence for country music's past in on display in several tracks. The strongest pure country track is a cover of the Gene Watson tune "Use Me Again" with harmonies from Ronnie Bowman. Watson is referenced in "Tonight I Don't Give a Damn" while "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" (a collaboration with Jimmy Melton not to be confused with the John Lennon tune from 1975) gives a shout out to Merle Haggard.

"Sweet Emmylou" (written by Rory Feek and Catherine Britt) is a tribute to Emmylou Harris with harmonies from Vince Gill and Alison Krauss, while "The Queen of Marina Del Rey" recalls an inspiring encounter from her early days as a performer ("And late Tuesday nights, I'd play open mic/One time Roseanne Cash walked up to my hat/And she threw in a five").

Enderlin has had some mainstream success with songs cut by artists as diverse as Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Bill Anderson and Luke Bryan. With smart compositions, tasteful production and smooth vocals, "Faulker County" reveals Enderlin to be ready for the spotlight.

CDs by Erin Enderlin

Faulkner County, 2019

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