Leland Martin

Leland Martin

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Singer/songwriter Leland Martin has had a somewhat sporadic career, releasing only four albums on three different labels in the course of a decade and a half, but the Missouri native is a rough-edged, expressive singer in a traditional honky tonk style. The production here is old-fashioned in the best possible sense, with pedal steel and fiddle predominating in the arrangements and few mainstream pop-oriented touches to be found. Martin also shows an admirably broad set of influences, tackling both the traditional folk tune "Wayfaring Stranger" and the Bee Gees' "Don't Forget to Remember." In fact, the best song here is a rollicking, sly version of Del Reeves' trucker classic "Girl on the Billboard," a hilarious story song from the '60s, when country music was more interested in roadhouses and churches than suburban soccer moms. Martin is something of a throwback to that time -- witness the swaggering statement of purpose "Country as the Day Is Long" -- but he's got the goods to back it up.

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