Honky Tonk Trio
It's a match made in heaven--or at least in the upper Midwest. Kristy Larson and Mark Roeder are as devoted to each other as they are to the real deal country music they love. So the question has lingered: when would they work together on a record? The answer is now in your CD player or on your MP3 file-or wherever fine media are played. Quality transcends technology. Especially when it comes to the performance of American roots music. Listen to Kristy sing, "All the way, to Jackson..," and know that this interpretation was worth waiting for. Lucinda Williams' song is a magical, country blend of hope and sorrow. It's merely a pretty melody until someone special sings it, someone special like Kristy, who lifts it up, holds it and shapes it measure by luscious measure. You can tell how much confidence the trio has in these well chosen tunes. Kristy's patience in performing them adds to the built-in tension of a chestnut like, "I'm Sorry," a song Larson has the flat-out audacity to make her own. Listen as Mark's lap steel follows closely behind his partner's phrasing, serving as her confidant, her understanding ear, and throughout this song, as well as the rest, the careful, precise bass playing of Steve Kasprzak. With enough time and money-and these guys waited to make this record until they had both-you can do a shoot 'em up studio production, especially when you're in the capable hands of Mark Haines at Madison's world famous Smart Studios. Yet the Honky Tonk Trio recorded old school. On tape, one take at a time. Engineering matters with this approach but the fact remains: you can't coax a community of emotion like this from a mixing board. The Honky Tonk Trio made it happen in real time. Ballads, weepers, trail songs, road house-it's all here. These songs are among the most "finished" country numbers you're likely to find. They deserved the treatment The Honky Tonk Trio has given them. And now they deserve you. To paraphrase the great Dwight Yoakam; turn 'em on, turn 'em up, turn 'em loose. Andy Moore Contributing Writer, No Depression Producer, WPT's 30 Minute Music Hour Madison, WI Kristy Larson was one of the first local singers I heard after we came to Madison well over a decade ago. I was immediately struck by her versatility, and her ability to make any song her own. But I'll have to confess that the performance that really won my heart was her version of Steve Earle's 'My Old Friend the Blues'. I was moved by her passion and soulfulness, and by the quality that other great singers have had, the ability to embrace the song so fully that it seems to be her own story that she has chosen to share with the listener. I have played the song often on my radio show. Only much later did I learn that her husband Mark is also a musician-a superb instrumentalist and a wonderful singer. It has been a pleasure to see and hear the Kristy Larson Trio evolve into one of Madison's finest vocal and instrumental ensembles. Best of all, Bobbie and I are proud to call them friends. Bill C. Malone WORT Radio Disc Jockey Author of 'Country Music, U.S.A.' April 1, 2008.