With the genre's looming concern over technical virtuoso, many bluegrass records have often been the platform of sublime showmanship at the expense of pensive ratiocination and sweeping melodies. As a result, many bluegrass songs suffer from the heavy congestion of bullet speed fiddles, mandolins and steel riffs. And at the end of the day, there is a sense of "same-ness" that prevails across many of them. Though Kristy Cox is a bona fide bluegrass extraordinaire, she is also a sedulous student of bluegrass' not too distant cousin, country music. On her debut album for Pisgah/Crossroads Records, "Living for the Moment" she has learnt well to incorporate some of country music's best story telling skills as well as the genre's use of simple yet memorable melodies into the construction of her songs. Hailed from South Australia, Kristy Cox is already a fixture in country music in her homeland. She was the recipient of the prestigious Tamworth Starmaker finalist and the APRA Professional Development Awards finalist for country songwriter in 2011. On top of her accolades, Cox has opened shows for fellow Aussie iconic artists such as the late Slim Dusty and Kasey Chambers.
"Living for the Moment," contrary to its titular, is not made in a flash. Rather, it's the fruit of Cox's labor in the US over the last year or so in crafting an album that will appeal to both her Australian as well as her US fans. Just like her preceding record "Miles and Timezones," this 10-song collection is again helmed by producer Jerry Salley. Fans of Christian, country and bluegrass music would immediately warm up to the name Jerry Salley. Salley has been responsible in crafting some of music's best and most recognized paeans including Reba McEntire's "I'm Gonna Take that Mountain," Steven Curtis Chapman's "His Strength is Perfect" and Jeff and Sheri Easter's 'Love is." Here Salley gets to share the pen with Cox on two songs while contributing 4 more co-writes to the present offering. The Salley and Cox co-penned "You're My Kind of Train Wreck" starts off the proceedings on a high note. Drawing parallels between the unfurling of a relationship to that of a train wreck, this is perfect illustration of how a metaphor when rightly expounded can reap such a picturesque outcome.
The second of the Cox and Salley creation is the stone country fiddle heavy "When It Comes to You." Here Salley also joins Cox vocally on what appears to be something that could have come out of the vaults of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Recalling the melodious era of the 90s when artists such as Suzy Bogguss and KathyMattea could take us for a romantic swirl with their acoustic based ballads is "Something in the Way." Romance has never been sweeter than this ode written by Jerry Salley and Anna Owens. Speaking of the country ladies is Cox take of Patty Loveless' "Love Builds the Bridges (Pride Builds the Walls)." Telling the story of an estranged couple sitting by the phone refusing to make the first move to apologize, this song is a revelation to many of us who refuse to see the foolishness of how pride can ruin a relationship.
"This" is a song that slipped through Alan Jackson's fingers. Co-written by Jackson's nephew Adam Wright, "This" is the type of ballad the superstar would have devoured and he would have churned it into a no.1 country hit. Speaking of radio songs, the chugging uptempo "One Heartbreak Away" has hit written all over; in fact, it is so infectious that it will get us hooked in a few listens. "Living for the Moment" is not a record for the transient; it's a record filled with stories, sentiments and inspiring melodic structures that will get us returning to again and again.