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CD REVIEW: Darkhorse featuring Mark & Kimberlee Holt - Acoustically Native

By: Cyrus Rhodes

 

 "I recommend you jump on this Horse." 

- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-

  

 

**********

 

Artist: Darkhorse - Featuring Mark & Kimberlee Holt Tully
Album: Acoustically Native
Label: Independent Artist

Website: www.myspace.com/mhkht

Genre: Country Western, Bluegrass, Americana

Sounds Like: John Denver, Willie Nelson, Don McLean   

Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: One Last Dance, All Over Now

Weakness: To many covers, not enough originals

CD REVIEW  

Brother & sister Mark & Kimberlee Holt Tully, Darkhorse hail from Weippe, Idaho. They release this 11 song CD "Acoustically Native" in the 2003.  

Logging in at just over 40 minutes, the CD kicks things off with a Marty Robbins classic “El Paso City” an upbeat intro piece that serves up impressive country western crescendo, delivering amazing harmonies, impressive falsettos, & rich storyline that peaks and valleys its way through fruition. Track 2 Greg Allamans’ “Midnight Rider” shifts gears a bit with driving country rhythm, against an explosion of fancy fretwork & full tilt guitar picking from Mark Holt & Co sure to make your head spin. Track 3 “One Last Dance” is a passionate ballad, with heart stopping emotional delivery & lyrical content which may require you to pull off to the side of the road. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of classic John Denver, Allman Brothers, & maybe just a splash of Don McLean. The music itself is a delightful blend of Bluegrass, Country, & Rockability Blues that goes down extremely smooth song for song, note for note. The most impressive thing about “Acoustically Native” is the guitar playing virtuoso & passionate vocal delivery of Holt himself. The vocal timber of Mark & his sister Kimberlee are to say the least impressive, & right on the money. Mark’s voice is in the vein of classic John Denver, Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson. I'll go on to add he takes some rather impressive vocal risks throughout the production as well indicating to me a very strong & confident vocal ability. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation, coupled with lush layers of instrumentation. From Pedal Steel, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, to lush layers of harmonies - I would classify this music as Easy Rock, Country Western, with just a dash of Bluegrass Americana served hot on the side. From easy going “Roll’ n With The Flow”, & “You’re In My Arms To Stay” to passionate “All Over Now” this CD pretty much has everything your looking for. You will also find a  rich collection of covers as well from Tex Owens’ classic “Cattle Call” to Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me Lord” & even an a Frank Sinatra Medley. Clearly this collection of music has a lot to offer, & possess a rich variety of music reminiscent of classic Americana.      

On some songs the vocals sit a bit hot in the mix, you have to turn the vocals down because of this. Though Holt’s voice is polished his widely spaced vibrato will take a toll on you. Some of the winded songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Although I thoroughly enjoy all the cover songs, at the end of the day I just wish there were more originals to choose from.

From start to finish “Acoustically Native” CD is an impressive collection of music. From start to finish it’s very passionate, & extremely melodic in nature. To say the least it's packed to the hilt with musical variety. The writing,  playing, & singing abilities of Mark & Kimberlee are impressive, & will be sure to lift your spirits without even trying. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with it. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of Dark Horse is amazing. What else can I say - I highly recommend you jump on this horse like I did.

 

Cyrus Rhodes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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