Becky Schlegel loves classic Country.
A brilliant songwriter with three albums of original music, Becky insists on including the classics in her performances.
So now, after years of requests, she has released an album that pays homage to the music she grew up on. Heartaches features 13 songs, including her most-requested number, If You Leave Me, Will You Take Me Along.
If You Leave Me was written by Mark Kreitzer in 1997. Becky saw him perform it at a pizza place and thought it was so beautiful she had him write it out for her right there. She recorded it in 1998 on her first record, a bluegrass record called This Lonesome Song. After performing it several times on RFD-TV’s Midwest Country Theater, requests came pouring in. So she recorded it again, this time featuring the sweet piano of Rich Dworsky (music director from A Prairie Home Companion), crying pedal steel of Kenny Wilson and harmony from none other than bluegrass superstar Randy Kohrs.
Randy Kohrs also does a guest appearance on Don’t Let Me Cross Over, perhaps one of the best-written songs of all time and a hit for Carl Butler in 1956. Becky’s track is a sparse rendition with some amazing percussion work by Marc Anderson.
Being a writer herself, Heartaches does include two original songs. All The Tears, a country shuffle with nice twin fiddling by Ronnie Stewart (the Dan Tyminski Band), will one day be a classic in its own right. At one show, a fan told Becky she sings it all the time and just loves it. Ronnie also fiddles through These Hills I Love, another original song fans have started to ask about.
Early, a beautiful song about the tiny midwestern town of Early, Iowa was written by Greg Brown. On Heartaches, Becky’s version features the harmony vocals of Greg’s daughter Pieta. Those who are not familiar with Pieta Brown would do well to check her out. You can also hear Bo Ramsey’s honest guitar playing just the right notes.
Speaking of guitar, Becky produced this record with her musical partner Brian Fesler, and you can hear his hot guitar work featured throughout. Never too much or too little, always just right.
Becky and Brian recorded this album at Wild Sound Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota with engineer Matthew Zimmerman in November 2007. They brought the country out of everyone involved… Who’s that singing harmony on Heartaches By The Number? Why, it’s John Hermanson of the famous Storyhill! And listen close, blues fans, isn’t that the one-and-only Mick Sterling on I Never Once Stopped Loving You?
This album is classic Country at its finest, filled with surprises and hidden treasures. A great gift for the Country Music lover in your life, and a nice introduction to classic Country for younger fans of modern singing. Once you hear it a few times, you won’t want to stop listening!