Ranch Romance

Western Dream

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With their retro-swing-country style and all-girl harmonizing, Ranch Romance was one of the best country bands you've never heard of. Although it fails to capture the energy the band generated in concert, Western Dream does a great job of summarizing the band's many qualities: singer Jo Miller yodels her pants off on showcase numbers like "When the Bloom Is on the Sage" and "Western Dream," and the group takes an irreverent, almost bossa nova-ish approach to the Hank Williams standard "Lovesick Blues." There are also fine versions of potboiler material like "St. James Avenue" and "Ain't No Ash Will Burn." Fiddler Barbara Lamb provides the center of gravity in instrumental terms, but Miller's rich, bell-toned voice is always the main attraction. (Western Dream was originally released on the band's own Ranch Hand label in 1989; the Sugar Hill reissue adds three tracks.)

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