After the Dance

Artist: Ronna Reeves
Listenability Scale: 70%
Released by: River North
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

I started listening to Ronna Reeves about three or four years ago. I was working retail, we had the radio on (I had it set to a country station much to the distaste of my co-worker) and I first heard a Ronna song. That was off of “The More I Learn”, her 2nd CD effort. Then, came her 3rd CD effort, “What Comes Naturally.” I like this CD even more and thought maybe this will put her over the edge. I even saw her live (great show) at an Arlington Heights, IL. festival. Then I waited, and waited, and waited. What happened to Ronna? I waited some more.

Well, finally, I heard some new news about what she was up to, and I found out she jumped ship from her old record company to River North and she was working on a new album. Then she was working, and working, and working, and finally there was a release date for the CD, and another release date, and another. Then the CD was released, and a single was expected soon, and expected soon, and expected soon. Finally, the single was released today, April 22nd, here as I write this review of her CD which actually hit the store shelves months ago. Maybe the marketing folks at River North are trying the opposite of what Garth did with his latest CD. He threw out a single months before the CD was to be released, then had the CD hit the shelves right before Christmas under stiff competition from a variety of others, and then saw his CD rise instantly, but then fall like a rock from the top ten. I think they are hoping just the opposite happens with Ronna, and I hope it works for her because she deserves the recognition she really hasn’t achieved.

Ronna Reeve’s latest CD is called After the Dance. After, in this case, is a good way to describe it, well, at least in the release time frame. After months and months and months, her CD is here. And it’s not bad.

Now, I love Ronna, have since I first heard her voice that first time selling things. I have all of her CD’s (there are three others), and like “After the Dance” as much, almost, as most the others.

The CD is your typical country mix of a few up-beatable type tunes, and a few “I miss him” type tunes. All in all, a fairly decent mix of both, but as much as I like the CD as a whole, nothing on the CD reaches out, grabs me, and makes me want to listen to it over and over. I really wish there was, the fan that I am, but there isn’t.

Ronna enlists the songwriting talents of Diane Warren, Neal Coty, and Randy Vanwarmer to name a few. She even tries her hand at songwriting, in collaboration with Jimmy Grubbs on a decent song called “One Way Ticket.” On the CD, I would say the the strongest songs are the slower, ballad type songs. “Collect From Wichita” has some single potential, as does “Next Train Out.” What the album lacks, however, is that one catchy song needed to propel an artist to the next level.

Of those type songs, I think Rodeo Man is pretty cool too, and you can maybe even can dance to it, but of everything on the CD, it seems River North is releasing the one song I really didn’t care for – “My Heart Wasn’t In It.” It’s not your typical love-type song, and I’d probably give it a five but you can’t really dance to it. Maybe that’s going along with their marketing strategy of starting slow and trying to build up momentum on the CD. We’ll just have to wait and see if it works.

Well, as much as I love Ronna Reeves, think she has one of the best voices on radio (and live), and admire her determination, I still have to remain objective. I don’t think that “After the Dance” is her best material, and as much as I hope I’m wrong, I don’t see this as the CD that will put her into the number of elite country ladies who are taking the country by storm every day. I really hope I’m wrong – have I said that enough. I think her chance came on “What Comes Naturally,” but her management and/or record company, whomever fault it was, missed the boat, were late for the plane, were caught in traffic, kicked the ball wide and to the right, or forgot to eat a healthy breakfast. In other words, they just plain missed the opportunity. This would have been a good follow-up record for legions of fans, but unfortunately most of her would-be fans have never heard of her, and without the one solid single off of After the Dance, they still won’t know what a talent they are missing. At least a few of us do.

In the end, “After the Dance” just misses, at least for me. It’s a good effort by a great talent, and I would recommend picking it up, but even though I rushed out to buy it right away, the big fan that I am (yes, I’ve had this CD for months), in the end it could have waited a little while. Oh well. Good luck Ronna, your time is near – I wish it was now. I give “After the Dance” a 70% on the Entertainment Ave! Listenability Scale.

Jim Croce – A Nashville Tribute

Artist: Various Artists
Listenability Scale: 35%
Released by: River North Nashville
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Jim Croce, but I can enjoy a “Time In a Bottle” with the best of them. But if I’m going to listen to a Jim Croce song, I guess I’m just going to want Jim singing it. In any case, “Jim Croce – A Nashville Tribute” is a nice testament to the variety of songs Jim has in his library, sung by some big names (Charlie Daniels, Sammy Kershaw) and some not so big names (Mark Collie, Larry Stewart). It also has Ronna Reeves who probably would have made it big time if not for Shania Twain coming out at the same time and stealing all of her press. In any case, if you want to hear Jim Croce songs with a country twang to them, it’s not a bad choice, but for me I’d rather hear the songs from the man himself.

It’s a 35% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!