It's hard to really understand why Eleni has made an album of traditional country songs. Her artistic worth surely lies in a collision of styles, adding up to a stange and original leftfield hybrid. There's nothing remotely leftfield about this album. Maybe that's the point. As an album, as a straightahead country album, it's quite good. And it has a handful of excellent songs. But as a fourth instalment of the Eleni Mandell musical vision? It makes no sense when considered that way. But then, perhaps Eleni doesn't care that much about the evolution of her music. She made a country album because she loves country music. However, I think she has probably alienated alot of her loyal fans by doing so. Would a Tom Waits fan put up with the great man making an album of country music? Probably not. Eleni's last album, Snakebite, was her best and most extreme, and suggested she may move even further into leftfield territory. But now this confounding change of tack. In a way, her wilful disregard of what is expected, is to be admired. In another way, it's hard as a music listener not to shake one's head and wonder at what's going on. She has the freedom to make whatever music she wishes. But does this mean that she actually should? This album is very valid, in that it makes one question whether one should expect anything at all from a favoured artist. Whether it's wrong to want an artist to pursue a certain path over another. Like when Phil Ochs, at the start of the seventies, started doing covers of Buddy Holly. His fans reacted badly. Personally I wish Eleni had not made a country album, because country has been done to death. She does not contribute anything to the genre that hasn't been contributed before. I sincerely hope that this is a one-off project, that she is not now a country artist. If the next album she makes is more of the same, I won't buy it. Loyalty only stretches so far. Eleni is an original talent, and has the ability to continue to make original, offbeat music. Whether she does or not, is entirely her decision.