Joni Harms 'Live - From Oregon to Ireland' - Harms Way

This is a double album recorded in Moate, Co Westmeath by noted singer and songwriter Joni Harms. She is well supported by the Sheerin Family Band who give a solid performance throughout and demonstrate their ability to play country music straight, no chaser. The various members of the family perform in their own right as well as backing other performers. This album came about when Tom Sheerin asked Harms to come to Ireland to sing at his parents 50th wedding anniversary which resulted in this live 22 track album. It comes with the atmosphere of a live show with intros, comments and audience all left in. This shows Harm’s warm outgoing personality and that she is a very good singer and writer of traditional country songs. She had a hand in writing all but one of the songs, The Only Thing Bluer than His Eyes which was a top twenty single from her debut album. As it was her first album she had been given outside songs to record, but that changed with later albums and now she co-writes her own songs.

Harms had been signed to both Capitol and WarnerWestern in her career,  but now releases her albums on her Harms Way label. She now, when she not recording or touring, works her family ranch in Oregon and that allows her to record the material and get the sound she wants without have  label interference. The music on this album comes from various points in her career and culminates in the title song which finds the band in traditional Irish mode which shows the versatility of the musicians. This move into a different style is effective, but might have paled if it had been used on more than the one track. Then again I’m sure there are many listeners who would have liked a whole album in that style. The first encore find Harms back on stage to deliver a solo song I Want to Sing for You, which shows she can hold an audience with just voice and guitar. The final track is titled Let’s Put the Western Back in the Country and it does that just that in a lively uptempo western swing mode. Joni Harms feels as at home on the Moate stage as she would back in Oregon and this album captures the occasion just beautifully.