More Than Words
By Skip Ogden Personnel: Sheri Lee, Sean Watkins, Sara Watkins, Dave Richardson, Dean Knight, Dave Dias, Mike Nadolson Many independent artists, seeking the attention so many deserve, send us CDs for review. Often, this material does not gain sufficient attention because of time constraints and the volume of material that arrives. This one, though, got my attention. Hidden in this simple yet tasteful CD cover is a buried treasure. Sheri Lee debuted with a masterpiece of music in 'More Than Words.' This is first a contemporary bluegrass CD yet it will be enjoyed by those who like traditional bluegrass, 'real' country, general acoustic and even folk music. While an impressive team of musicians appear on this release, the power and the glory goes to Sheri Lee for her stellar singing, her musical injection of emotion, and her outstanding ability to write songs that feel familiar without sounding like something else. Seven of the 11 cuts on this marvelous CD are Sheri's original compositions. Sheri has an angelic and powerful voice. It collects the listener and guides them through a musical pilgrimage of Sheri's work. To listen to Sheri is to hear the product of her musical past. Song's like 'Darlin Come Back To Me' demonstrate a bluegrass song with an 'real' country sound. Solid bluegrass like 'Julian,' an upbeat song about a California bluegrass festival, clearly shows Sheri's traditional bluegrass talent with a contemporary edge. 'Where Will I Go' is, hands down, one of the best gospel cuts I have ever heard. Uplifting, musically sound, top-notch vocals and harmonies - even a little a capella mixed in. Simply outstanding. While I normally avoid comparing one artist to another, Sheri's voice bring to mind images of early Alison Kraus and Laurie Lewis. Sheri deserves great recognition for this project. Due to her life duties as a mother, wife and business person, it took a while to bring this project to the public. But it has been worth the wait. Buy this CD not only because it receives the highest rating I've ever given a debut album, but also because it is the debut project of a woman who could be a major player in bluegrass in the very near future.