Tommy Webb. “Heartland.” Rural Rhythm. 14 tracks

Tommy Webb’s “Eastern Kentucky” album on the tiny Kindred Records label captured critics’ attention two years ago. Now, he’s back with a new album on a bigger label — Rural Rhythm. And the sound is just as good.

Webb wrings the emotion out of any lyrics. Ballads are his strong suit and fortunately there are five on the album.

 Unfortunately, there aren’t more.

Webb hit No. 4 on the Bluegrass Unlimited singles’ chart two years ago with “If It Weren’t For Bluegrass Music (I’d Go Crazy),” a bluegrass version of Clinton Gregory’s old “If It Weren’t For Country Music, I’d Go Crazy.”

It’s included on this album, along with Ricky Skaggs’ “A Hard Row To Hoe,” a cut from Webb’s first album.

 The first single from the new album — “Teardrop Inn” — is the tale of a cheatin’ man about to be gunned down outside a bar by the woman he betrayed. It’s as much classic country as bluegrass, but who cares?

Webb wrote or co-wrote five of the tracks — “Everything You Do,” “What You Weren’t Thinking Of,” “Heartland”, “Fall Upon Him” and “If It Weren’t For Bluegrass Music….”

There’s a cover of Skaggs’ 1984 hit “Something In My Heart” and Darryl Worley”s 2000 “Good Day To Run” as well as the traditional “Little Sadie” and Carter Stanley’s “Clinch Mountain Backstep,” which features Webb on clawhammer banjo.

A good album by an artist you should be hearing a lot more about in the future.

 Can’t find it in stores? Try www.RuralRhythm.com.

 Doyle Lawson has launched a new weekly video series called “Ask Doyle.”

A new video is posted each week and Lawson uses it to answer questions from his fans.

Here’s the link to the first one http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=153263242&blogId=491829072

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