There are several reasons I try not to read reviews of albums I’m assigned to critique before I write mine. I don’t want to be influenced, but I also don’t want to be intimidated. I broke that rule this week and regretted it, because Blake Boldt’s review of the Court Yard Hounds (a Dixie Chicks side project) over at The 9513 is really excellent. So is his review of Chely Wright’s Lifted Off the Ground — though I kind of wish it hadn’t been published a week ago and therefore rather coy about the ‘private life’ we now know refers to her homosexuality. I’d be interested in his take knowing the full context — then again, Chris Willman did a bang-up job on that over at the Huffington Post.
But I digress. In general, I always enjoy the reviews at The 9513 — the first major country music blog — not least because they’re longer than most, and really allow the writers to stretch out and include some pretty turns-of-phrase that elsewhere might get cut for space. (The blog also does single reviews, which I love and hardly see anywhere else.) Now I’m faced with summing up the Hounds in less than 150 words and I’m jealous. Oh well.