John Conlee

American Faces

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John Conlee established himself as a major country artist with a long string of hits for MCA before moving to Columbia Records in 1986. Despite being a the King Midas of country singers -- everything he sings turns to gold -- his hits began to fall off, and American Faces' "Domestic Life" was his last Top Ten hit. That song, with its saxophone riffing and lyrics addressing typical Conlee concerns like everyday living and dreaming, is a worthy addition to his inventory of hits. "Mama's Rockin' Chair" is in the venerable country music tradition of "mother songs" and stalled just shy of the Top Ten. "Living Like There's No Tomorrow (Finally Got to Me Tonight)" was the album's lugubrious third single and didn't fare very well; it's odd that it was chosen for single release when other, better songs on the album were passed over. "Slow Passin' Time," in particular, seems to have had chart potential, a supposition bolstered by Anne Murray's Top 40 success with the song a couple of years later. "American Faces" might have seemed like a cloying flag-waver in the hands of a less capable vocalist, but Conlee's voice is so comfortable and appealing it brings out nuances that another singer would miss. American Faces isn't a perfect album, but it, like most everything Conlee recorded, is a treat for anyone who appreciates his talent.

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