Ernie Sites

Saddle Bags and Wishes

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On his third album (and first to be issued on CD after two cassette collections), Ernie Sites returns to original material following the traditional tunes on his second effort, Cowboy Classics. But if the songs are newly written, the musical approach remains steeped in Western tradition. Sites accompanies himself on acoustic guitar and mandolin, singing in a slightly throaty tenor of "The Life of a Cowboy," as one song title puts it, before taking off into extended yodeling. He occasionally leans toward Western swing in his arrangements (e.g., "Little Cow Poke"), and sometimes you can hear other influences ("Survival" recalls the ominous tone of "Riders in the Sky" with a vocal that sounds like Waylon Jennings). Also, Sites delves into cowboy poetry here and there, notably on the closing track, "The Winning Buckle -- Rodeo Poem." But for the most part, this is familiar Western material that will fit into the collections of people familiar with the music of Don Edwards (who contributes brief liner notes) and Waddie Mitchell. (Sites & Sounds Music, 237 6th Ave. East, Wendell, ID 83355)

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