REVIEW: The Nelons – The Americana Sessions

Producer: Jason Clark
Record Label: Daywind Records

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Probably one of the most diverse and unique recordings released this year is this latest release by the Nelons.  Featuring mostly songs that are woven into the very fabric of what is “Americana”, it’s not exactly “gospel”, but there’s no cussin’ either!  I wasn’t sure how I was going to take this recording, because not every gospel group can pull off most of these songs like the Nelons did, and it’s definitely not the “norm”; but the Nelons did it and the recording is an excellent collection of tunes that are part of our American history and culture, and they churned out some excellent and memorable renditions of this memorable tunes.

The recording starts out paying homage to the late Glenn Campbell with an excellent rendition of his classic tune, “GENTLE ON MY MIND” before the tempo slows down for the Disney classic from the movie “Pocahontas”, “COLORS OF THE WIND”.

Autumn gives an excellent rendition of the Dolly Parton classic, “COAT OF MANY COLORS” before Kelly steps up to give a masterful performance on the Anne Murray hit from the 1970s, “YOU NEEDED ME”.

Jason turns in an excellent performance on the only new song on the recording, “DADDY AND SON”.  Penned by Jason, along with Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo-McGuire, the song tells a wonderful story of forgiveness and reconciliation between a dad and his son.

One of my all-time favorite songs born out of the late 60s/early 70s is the Simon and Garfunkel classic, “BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER” and the Nelons turn in a tremendous performance before Amber turns in a truly meaningful performance on the American Folk tune, “OH SHENANDOAH”, which proves Amber can literally sing anything and sound awesome!

The Nelons churn out an excellent rendition on the John Denver favorite, “COUNTRY ROADS, TAKE ME HOME”, which is a highlight of the recording, as is their dramatic rendition of the poignant classic, “AN AMERICAN TRILOGY”, which was popularized by Elvis back in the 1970s.

Jason steps up again to sing the Merle Haggard classic, “MAMA TRIED” before the recording closes out with a beautiful, haunting rendition of “BATTLEFIELD”, which is an adaptation of the old hymn, “I’m Gonna Die on the Battlefield”.

While a departure from the norm, this is a refreshing release and one of the best releases for 2017.  The Nelons took a classy approach with this recording and put together a true representation of “Americana” music.  Though I wouldn’t classify it as a “gospel” release, these songs are closely knitted together by strong religious undertones and most people will be able to closely relate to the spiritual aspect of most of these songs.  If not, the nostalgic undertones will fill in the gaps!

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

Gentle on my Mind**
Colors of the Wind
Coat of Many Colors**
You Needed Me**
Daddy and Son**
Bridge Over Troubled Water**
Oh, Shenandoah
Take Me Home, Country Roads**
An American Trilogy**
Mama Tried**


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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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