Carrie Hassler has been working hard since her last release (2008’s CHHR2), and her efforts shine on her most recent project for Rural Rhythm Records, the solo album The Distance. The album debuted at number 10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass chart, and its first single, Luxury Liner, hit the Bluegrass Today charts at #15.
Featuring eight tracks by songwriters including Carl Jackson, Steve Gulley, Tim Stafford, and Ashley McBryde (just to mention a few), Hassler has chosen her songs with care. She has not just picked songs she likes – in the liner notes, she states that they all make her “feel something when she hears them.” She even goes on to say “If I had to choose one last song to ever sing… this would be it” in regards to the album’s title track. Hassler is also supported by a standout group of musicians including Ron Stewart (banjo and fiddle), Alan Bibey (mandolin), and Justin Moses (dobro and fiddle).
Songs range in scope from heartfelt melodies to pieces like the album’s opening track, Luxury Liner, a fast-paced, banjo-driven take on a Gram Parsons tune which fans of Emmylou Harris may recognize from her recording of the song. Adding an interesting aspect to the album is hit songwriter Bobby Boyd’s Catch My Breath, which sounds more like an old-school country hit, with electric and steel guitar accompaniment. Other notable numbers include Eugene and Diane, a duet with Steve Gulley with a simple arrangement conveying a sweet love story.
While Hassler is well-known in the bluegrass world, including two 2011 IBMA nominations for her work on the All Star Jam – Live at Graves Mountain album, The Distance could help her easily slip onto the country charts, as well. Hassler’s sweet melodies and smooth vocals are reminiscent of Patsy Cline and other classic female country artists, and her voice lets the listener know that she feels every note of both the love songs and the lonesome songs.
For more information on Hassler and her new album, visit her website at www.carriehassler.com.