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Album Review – That Says It All – by Gavin Marriott

Joy Adams is well known as a top New Zealand country singer who writes clever songs about both funny and sad situations. But to musos she is known for her clear diction, accents when appropriate, the use of dynamics which few singers master and excellent breathing control. It is these qualities that endears Joy to you as you listen to the 15 tracks of her latest CD ‘That Says It All’.

This is her 20th studio album over 30 years of recording and this album doesn’t disappoint. In fact I would rate it alongside any international country album currently. The CD starts off with the title track, a bouncy country number.

The next track is one that you will listen to over and over. It is an Irish classic written by Ben Sands that has always been a favourite of mine as popular by Foster & Allan. For her rendition, Joy brought in one of the world’s best accordion players from Scotland, David Vernon to back her. They have performed together in New Zealand and what a combination. ‘We All Need A Hug’ is my album favourite and I am sure will be yours.

‘Everyone But Me’ shows off those vocal qualities I mention earlier. There is a variety on this CD and Joy knows what we like. ‘Tiny Blue Transistor Radio’ will be known by those from the 60s and sung along to. ‘Sweetheart’ was a favourite hit for Englebert Humperdinck and here Joy gives an older style softer blend with her own backing vocals.

‘Party In Heaven’ was a song Joy wrote whilst on her way to her brother’s funeral and again another catchy song with her usual brilliant lyrics with excellent backing from her country band.   

‘Best Of Friends’ is a popular Irish ballad and here Joy asks her friend Dennis Marsh to tell a story on top during part of the song. For the refrain she used double tracked vocals. This arrangement is so good it could get on country charts. 

‘Still I Wonder’ is an original song that is again catchy with honky tonk piano and double tracked vocals. ‘According To The Lie’ features John Grenell doing backing vocals in the chorus. A typical sad country song as is ‘Let’s Make A Memory’.

I am glad when any artist performs ‘Blue Smoke’. It was the first commercial recording from New Zealand by Ruru Karaitiana. Joy has gone back to country basics in this track and got in a mandolin and steel guitar player. These were well utilised in ‘After All’. We get another Irish style classic again from Dave Sheriff ‘I Love You To The Moon And Back’ and the finale ‘She’s Got You’ which is quite a different style for Joy leaning to a cabaret ballad but still keeping it country.

One of the best country albums released in New Zealand. Don’t miss out on it.

Gavin Marriott