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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Whitney Mann - The Western Sky

Whitney Mann - The Western Sky
2011, Mud Dauber Records

There are a number of things you might know Wisconsin for: beer, cheese, sausage and the Green Bay Packers.  The brightest light in Wisconsin might not be on your radar yet, but it won't be long.  Meet Whitney Mann, a traditional country singer/songwriter from Madison with an impassioned and pure voice (both as a singer and songwriter) who has open for such elite artists as Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn.  Without varnish or any of the Nashville sheen, Whitney Mann writes honest, heartfelt songs born of farm and country life, and combines it with a rare ability to connect almost instantly with any crowd, large or small.  On May 10, 2011, Whitney Mann will release her second EP, The Western Sky, consisting of six original songs that might just blow your mind.

Mann opens with "Been Thinkin A Ways", a contemplative love song that's also something of a come on. Mann sings the song without artifice or design, speaking from her heart in song in a refreshingly unadulterated fashion.  "Home" is a traditional country-style number; stripped down with a bit of bluegrass influence.  Mann's voice is beautiful in its unadorned splendor, conveying thought and emotion through pure melody.  "Miss You On The Farm" and "Born To Love You" are both solid entries born of or inspired by love.  They serve as a running lead in to "I'm Like", a love ballad with a touch of vaudeville flair.  Mann falls a bit into cliché here, but the effort is so honest and heartfelt that cliché is reborn as simple truth.  "All I Want" is the piece de resistance on The Western Sky, a love song destined to be covered again and again.  If Mann were to re-record this number in a more pop/country arrangement she'd be storming the Billboard Country charts.  Mann revisits "Been Think A Ways" in a reprise that takes on gospel overtones on her way out the door.

Whitney Mann has an ability to connect with listeners.  Unfettered by pop conventions such as cynicism and what we call "polish", Mann simply writes great music, and performs it with the unaffected air of a best friend telling you about her life over a cup of coffee.  The Western Sky is the sort of EP you get comfortable with; listening to it again and again over time.  Whitney Mann doesn't blow you away, but speaks to listeners of life and love in the quite undertones of a confident.  The connection is forged, and you'll keep coming back for more.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Whitney Mann at   The Western Sky drops on May 10, 2011.  You can pre-order downloads from  Keep your eyes open for wider availability.

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