Donnie Winters - guitar, dobro & vocals
After the Pearson family of Judge Parker and its 2013 album of Country covers " Still Drivin' On ", here is another sibship, the Winters family, by the intervention of Donnie Winters who breaks the silence with the publication of an opus of sixteen titles named "Real Country Real Family", apparently recorded before, where Donnie revisits the rich musical inheritance which goes from the grandfather to the repertoire of the father Don Winters, specialist of the Yodel, a way of singing widespread in the mountains of Tirol. Cousins and uncles are also in the round. Donnie signs seven titles among which three with his brother Dennis. Only two covers appears on the album. Emotional record because dedicated to the elder son of Donnie, Ryan Winters multi-instrumentalist musician who died in September, 2013 and present on the album. Watch out, forewarned is forearmed ! Here, no over-zealousness on the level of the decibels. We proceed here calmly in a rather traditional country, sometimes winding in a light lasciviousness, with titles like at the start "You're Running Wild", glossy of pedal steel and of violin on "Shake Hands With A Loser". The same goes until the fifth tune where arrives then "Mexicali Boogie" a little instrumental of impulsive humor in a Tex-Mex style dear to Doug Sahm’s Texas Tornadoes. Then, surprise, arrives "Shotgun Rider" which gives some boost to the set, a tune signed by Donnie & Dennis Winters and coming from the first album of the Winters Brothers Band in 1976. It’s played with an extremely beautiful different sensibility and which perpetuates the opus of a beautiful way, with overall the thirteenth title "If I'm Lucky". After some tracks more « Trad Country », this "If I'm Lucky" is a real country rock treasure with guitar in soft harmony. Donnie’s voice tunes up marvelously with this kind of like-country exercise. The end comes true by a long instrumental "Buffalo Road / Ryan's'Song" paying tribute to his son.
Ah, the Winters Brothers Band! A really original band, belonging to the first wave of the Southern rock of the seventies, but which didn’t get the success it deserved. Since then, the time spent and the two brothers separated. Dennis remained faithful to the Southern rock but Donnie preferred to return to his Country music roots and his last production carries to the top the banner of this musical style. So there is some classic Country music with some melodic ballads enhanced by the pedal steel (« You’re running wild », « Do me a favor ») or the fiddle (« Shake hands with a loser », « Cowboys go down brave »). But Donnie Winters keeps his own style and shows himself imperial in the dobro on magnificent « Dusty winds ». He continues in this approach with the magnificent « I ain’t giving up ». This pared-down Country-folk ballad (two acoustic guitars, a bass and a banjo) touches directly the sensibility of the listener. The instrumental " Mexicali boogie " transports us in a Mexican land with Donnie's magic guitar whereas a Southern spirit escaped from the seventies floats on the lively « If I’m lucky ». The record ends on « Buffalo road (Ryan’s song) », an extremely beautiful instrumental interpreted by Donnie only with his acoustic guitar. But there is even better ! Donnie had the sensible idea to cover in very beautiful way two titles of the Winters Brothers Band, present on the first two albums of the band. First, « Shotgun rider » with a fast Country rhythm and an excellent solo of acoustic axe. Then, the brilliant « Misery in my soul » on whom Donnie gives us an electric guitar solo simply perfect. Melody, emotion, nostalgia. We might think we were back at the great time ! To qualify this album of Country music production would be extremely reducing because, by listening to well, we find a large part of the Southern musical inheritance which Donnie distils with talent and personality. It would rather be a question of a kind of hybrid realization mixing Country music and Southern rock with a very particular style. Let us remain that in 1976, the Winter Brothers Band was already a special band. About forty years later, what could be more natural than Donnie Winters immortalizing the tradition by being where we do not wait for him ?