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Music Review: Hushabye Baby: Lullabye Renditions of Patsy Cline

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The legacy of Patsy Cline can now be accessible to the children of tomorrow. With the release of Hushabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Patsy Cline parents can play classics for their babies. Children or not, this album is calming, charming, and a very interesting take on Patsy Cline’s music.

Inconsistent instruments seem to plague the tracks. In “Crazy” the guitar section is beautiful, but when duetted with the xylophone, it loses the degree of passion it began with. Lament is better suited for a guitar. There are also jarring moments. At the end of “Sweet Dreams” a glockenspiel plays, its volume quite loud in comparison to the rest of the arrangement. This could easily snap a baby awake if they started to doze off. The beginning of “Always” does the same, where the arrangement of the beginning is louder than the rest of the track. With that being said, the arrangements never stay the same in one song often shifting instruments between chorus and verse. As an adult, I find it a little annoying, but a child will probably not notice it, as they would be listening to it while they try to sleep.

The best handled song is “I Fall to Pieces” since it has a light arrangement and the shifts in instruments between verses are handled correctly. The pedal steel beautifully accompanies the instruments. The song gives off images of a cowboy walking into the sunset. Also notable are the songs “She’s Got You,” which finds harmony with all of the instruments including the autoharp, and “He Called Me Baby” which is consistently calming.

There is a slight disconnect from the album to the listener because of a few factors. For one, in the Hushabye farm, Patsy is portrayed as a swallow, yet there are no instruments that would represent a bird in any form or fashion or any instrument that could display the idea of a songstress. Another problem is that Patsy’s music portrayed a lot of heartbreak and her voice emotes long notes. Somehow this album channels that, but without the pain (her voice). I get goose bumps listening to Patsy’s music and true Patsy Cline may be turned off by the lack of soul in the songs.

I will admit that Patsy’s Hushabye album is better than several of the Hushabye albums I’ve listened to. Her music converts a lot easier to a slower tempo. Wording also helps for parents if they want to sing along. A song like “Back in Baby’s Arms” becomes a play on words if you sing it to your baby.

Although it seems like I gave the album a negative review, on a whole I loved it. I find the concept to be original and creative. Hushabye is a great way to opening children to country. There’s something in this album that emotes a southern charm. Listening to it generates images of lulling down a lazy river near the bayou, going down to the fishing hole, or even just drinking a Sasparilla on a hot summer day.

It chooses a soft and proper arrangement for babies. I want to shake Jim Hoke’s hand for his pedal steel guitar playing. It’s subdued, but necessary in the tracks he plays in. There are a lot of country instruments included and that in itself is a great way to introduce to toddlers (autoharp, pedal steel guitar, banjo, mouth/jaw harp). In the end, the album is great to listen to if you are a baby, a Patsy Cline fan who can accept interpretation, or suffer from insomnia.

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About Michael Pascua