14 Aug 2022

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Jodi Vaughan - Album Review: For The Love of Country

05 Aug 2022 // A review by Roger Bowie

The moment Tennessee Dancing strikes up, we know we are in a deep country space. Somewhere just out of Nashville, maybe a famous farm, maybe an even more famous figure, but actually, no, fooled you, we’re in the country alright, but close to home, in our very own Waikato country.

Because this is Jodi Vaughan country, yes, Jodi Vaughan, as Aussie as vegemite, but as kiwi as pavlova, and surely after 40 years of calling New Zealand home, we can claim her as our very own country superstar. And you can’t have Crowded House either, you pesky Aussies !!

For The Love of Country was released a few weeks ago and went straight to the top of our country charts, but that’s not the real story. The real story is that Jodi Vaughan, a household name in the 80s with “That’s Country” on the television, is back with her 10th solo album, and at the sprightly young age of whatever, but think September, she has written and produced the whole thing herself, with help from Tauranga’s Gavin Northcroft, who also plays guitar and backs up vocals.

There are some old songs, some new ones, and some re-recorded. Tennessee Dancing happens to be the first song Jodi ever wrote, but there’s a story to each song, whether it be from touring with Gray Bartlett way back when, to the buzz of being in Tamworth for the first time, to the shared heartache of loss, or the unconditional love of a four-legged friend, of which Jodi has had many over the years, including her current favourite, mysteriously named Delta Vaughan. What a classic.

The signature song, however, is a song she wrote in sympathy for a long-time musical mate at the loss of his father. Of course, we are talking about Brendan Dugan, who obliges on the song I’ll be There for You with his gruff baritone anchoring what is a timeless country song.

We’ll forgive Jodi for Aussie Proud, an unashamed love song to the place of her birth, but of course we know she doesn’t mean it, she’s a Kiwi now, despite the protest I can just hear when she reads this.

We’ll forgive anything after listening to this record, which is about as pure a country record as you could imagine, one which will get the oldies opening their lungs in a sing a long at every moment, and might just make the younger ones sit up and notice the youthfulness of her voice. Country music, elixir of life, you are tempted to suggest, even an old rocker like me.

The Card is another classic love song discovered in the attic of life’s memories, and Live for Today is not just a tub-thumping finale, it’s an affirmation that Jodi Vaughan has never gone away, is not going away, is still here in resplendent voice and spirit.

New Zealand’s Patsy Cline, no, Dolly Parton, is in vintage form and hitting the road, occasionally, throughout the rest of this year. Keep an eye out for a hoedown, a sing-a-long, and a time to close your eyes and remember that this is country, pure and simple. In our country.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )


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