Skip Ewing "Greatest Hits" (MCA, 1991)
(Produced by Jimmy Bowen & Skip Ewing)
Northern California's Skip Ewing, a middle-rung hitmaker in the late '80s, sure looked like a skinny, dorky little goober, but he had a big, rich voice that fit in well with the slower, slick sounding arrangements he favored. I guess his music sits right on the edge for me; it's almost the kind of sentimental heartsongs that I like, and falls just short of utterly dismal country-pop -- not Don Williams, but not quite Kenny Rogers, either. Mostly, it's his voice that makes this stuff worth it; the musical end is rather bland and poppy, sounding almost Doobie Brothers-ish at times. Fading from the spotlight in the early '90s, Ewing continues to be a prolific songwriter, providing some of the sappier Top-40 material for the likes of Collin Raye and Kenny Chesney. In recent years, Ewing has tended to record gospel material when he gets into the studio himself.
Skip Ewing "The Coast Of Colorado" (MCA, 1988)
Skip Ewing "The Will To Love" (MCA, 1989)
Skip Ewing "A Healin' Fire" (MCA, 1990)
Skip Ewing "Following Yonder Star" (MCA, 1990)
Skip Ewing "Naturally" (Capitol, 1991)
Skip Ewing "Homegrown Love" (Capitol/Liberty, 1993)
(Produced by Jerry Crutchfield)
There's a little more twang in his tunes than on his earlier work for MCA, and in general this is a pretty good, if innocuous, soft-country album. Odd that this album never even entered the charts... guess maybe it was too mellow for the rockin' "young country" and line-dancing scene of the early 'Nineties, or maybe after his previous Capitol album tanked, they just decided to bury this one and count it as a tax writeoff... (Just theorizing; I don't actually know what the real story is...) Anyway, this ain't a bad album -- there are a few tracks that fall flat, and a few that stretch a nice, simple melody further than need be, but there are also several songs that are quite simply quite nice. "You Only Come Up When I'm Down" and "Losing You Is New To Me" are both fine, straightforward country tunes, while "Grandma's Garden" is good for folks who are suckers for sentimental family-related songs. Most of the material on here was written by Ewing, and indeed one of the album's weaker moments is his cover of Elton John's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word," a version that starts out with promise, but kind of fizzles out. Still, if you like rootsy country that's kind of on the soft side, this is a good record to check out.
Skip Ewing "Until I Found You" (Word-Nashville, 1997)
(Produced by Billy Joe Walker, Jr.)
A mainly-gospel album, with secular-sounding "love" songs that have barely-masked religious overtones, like the uptempo "All That Matters To Me," which kicks off the album. It's on the more upbeat and more country-sounding songs that Ewing excels; the middle section of the record has a few slower, sappier songs that drags things down. But Ewing is one of those welcome rare artists who can take the most formulaic production and still bring the songs to life -- for the most part this is an album that'll draw you in and get your toes tapping. Standout secular tracks include "Some Fools," which sings the virtues of sad country songs... All in all, a nice record (though folks who don't like gospel material will want ot steer clear of this one...)
Skip Ewing & The Big Kidz Band "Indian Elephant Tea" (Rounder, 2001)
Hick Music Index