Lori Yates Sweetheart of the Valley

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Submitted by Don Graham

This is it! It’s here! Finally, the album I’ve been waiting for! I didn’t know who was going to record it, but I knew that one day it would happen. One day there would be an album that would remind me of those days of opening up a new vinyl 12” LP and putting the needle down gently on the grooves and being transported to a beautiful place. A place of warm rich tones and richly textured vocals singing heartfelt lyrics. Lori Yates captured lightning in a bottle with her new record Sweetheart of the Valley and this should be the ticket to get her back where belongs on the alt-country music scene.  This is Lori’s first album since 2007 when she released The Book Of Minerva, and it was well worth the wait. Backed up masterfully by Hey Stella, whose members include Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan, David Baxter and Michelle Josef and steel player Steve Wood.

Lori was born in Oshawa, Ontario and raised in Downsview listening to Dolly Parton, Pink Floyd, Tanya Tucker and Suzi Quattro, a pretty diverse spread which served her well in her developing years. Sony Nashville got wind of her talent, signed her and released  "Can't Stop the Girl" worldwide in 1989. From there a young Lori Yates found herself touring with cowpunk superstar Dwight Yoakum, the edgy Steve Earle and the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In 2001, Lori moved to Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and baby boy and she embraced the city . “There is some huge talent in Hamilton and I’m proud to be a part this scene.” Lori started performing at the CorktownTavern,and payed homage to the area in her song “Corktown” on her new album.

Lori’s real passion is songwriting but was not sure if her songs were up to par. After she won the 2007 Hamilton Music Award for Songwriter of the Year and wrote the #1 hit for Martine St. Clair, she was much more confident. Sweetheart of the Valley removes all doubt. This 12 song Cd is all killer, no filler and all are Yates penned tunes. The imagery in “Angels With Bloody Knees”. “tequila sunrise in a factory town" sets the tone and paints the picture. The haunting vocal in “ Call My Name” embraces the lyric and seduces the listener to that place where the singer is taking them. “ Corktown” shows the sassy side of Lori’s voice and reminds us that she may be the sweetheart of the valley but she has some grit and swagger to her as well. “ Ghost Of Josephine” reminds me of something Emmy Lou Harris would be proud to have written. Well done and probably my favourite track on the album.“ See Who I Am” is one of those California country blues type songs that makes you want have another drink and listen again to see what you missed the first time you heard it. The whole time I’m listening to this album I’m listening to the band and how well they sit in the track, never stepping on the singer and letting the song be the star.”“Trouble In The Country”  will get your toes tapping and your hands clapping and you’ll feel like you’re in Austin, Lori paying homage to her country roots. “ Whatcha Gonna Do?” is a great change of pace, a little rockabilly and little shuffle train kind of song, The kind of song that will fill the dance floor  on a Saturday night.

Sweetheart of the Valley is one of the best albums I’ve heard in years.  Lori Yates sings from her soul, not her lungs and writes from her heart.  When I listen to this album, I want to crawl inside the speakers so I can get closer to the stage and the singer. A career album for Lori Yates. Do yourself a huge musical favour and get yourself a copy of this record, it will restore your faith in alt-country music.

For more visit www.loriyates.com