Bill Mann,
Your Heart Knows
(Harmonic Emergence Records, 1998)

Your Heart Knows is a pretty good country album. (I know, certain unnamed people won't believe this, but it is.) When I first heard the album it caught me off guard and, well, there was other stuff to listen to. When I finally got around to listening to the entire CD I was more than pleasantly surprised.

The music is great, with a sound that slides from older country to acoustic folk. Bill Mann and the other musicians are all very talented. Mann plays the acoustic guitar, and he also is a decent singer. Other musicians are Jeff Sick (fiddle, violin and seagulls, yes, seagulls), Al Harris (keyboards) and Jon Goforth (alto, tenor and baritone sax).

"Give a Little Love" starts the CD off with a strong country flavour. And as with all the songs on the CD, the title of the song gives you a pretty good idea what the lyrics are about. They also all happen to be either love songs or philosophy songs.

The only weak spot on the CD are some of the lyrics. Songs like "It Took an Angel" (a beautiful love song) and "The Heart of a Friend" (dedicated to a friend) have wonderful lyrics. Then there are songs like "Can't Live With 'em, Can't Live Without 'em" and "Tools," where the lyrics are somehow lacking something. Maybe I am expecting too much from the lyrics, but when a CD seems to want to say so much, it is too bad when it doesn't quite always succeed.

Your Heart Knows is a decent CD, and if you like country music you might want to give it a try. If you don't, this album won't change your mind.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]