Music Review: Fritts' 'Oh My Goodness' layered with emotion

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 11:16 AM
Music Review: Fritts' 'Oh My Goodness'  layered with emotion

Donnie Fritts, "Oh My Goodness" (Single Lock)

Donnie Fritts' infrequent recordings are cherished for their laid-back southern soulfulness and their sweetly tender emotion — sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes wry and witty.

'Oh My Goodness" is Fritts' fourth album in 41 years. Like the others, it wonderfully captures the reflections of a thoughtful, reserved, and amazingly expressive man.

The songwriter and session keyboardist toured in Kris Kristofferson's band for decades and contributed hit songs to Waylon Jennings ("We Had It All"), Charlie Rich ("You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning"), Joe Simon ("Easy To Love") and Dusty Springfield ("Breakfast In Bed"). He's occasionally played character roles in films, most notably three films directed by the legendary Sam Peckinpah.

This time around, Fritts benefits from the production of John Paul White, in his first project since leaving the Civil Wars, and cohort Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes. The younger, fellow Alabamians keep the arrangements spare and packed with feeling.

Fritts' voice is, as it always has been, a weathered instrument, and it's perfect for slipping layers of emotion into new tunes, such as a brilliant cover of Amanda McBroom's "Errol Flynn," as well as updates of long-time Fritts favorites like "The Oldest Baby In The World" (co-written with John Prine) and "Memphis Women And Chicken."

Like an old friend who drops by every decade or so, it's great to hear such a one-of-a-kind artist offer up his particular brand of American country soul.