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ALBUM REVIEW

Leyla Fences
LIARS, CHEATS, and FOOLS
©2010 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd
Co-Founder, MyTexasMusic.com 

As you scan the outside of the CD packaging for Leyla Fences’ debut album, there are a couple of hints as to what you’ll find inside.  The word ‘bar’ appears on the front, the words ‘dancing tonight’ appear on the back, and the UPC code is in the style of a Texas license plate.  You’ll see traces of denim in the artwork and a hint of fancy embroidery on the faux pocket holding the simulated instant photo on the cover.  Now, without hearing the first note, I always like to anticipate what’s inside, musically.  I don’t believe a listener should ever be surprised after opening their purchase.  The cover should advertise the contents.  In this case, my expectations were met.  I expected to hear country music, songs about what happens between people when bars are involved, at least one song about dancing, and a sincere Texas attitude.  All those elements are present.  Leyla Fences has written every cut on this disc (you can also learn this from the cover) and her liner notes clarify that while she might not have lived every story, she was inspired by true events.  Fences hasn’t been just sitting on the couch for twenty years hoping songs would pop into her head.  Rather, she’s been out there, actually abroad, soaking up a worldly education about people and their experiences.  Her writing makes her a woman’s woman, taking an almost tongue-in-cheek view of male antics, and how men should be treated as a result.  But she doesn’t alienate men in the process.  Instead, she embraces the gospel of a world full of those mentioned in the album’s title and simply presents those truths for all to examine.  The opening cut invites girls to assess their situation and make changes if necessary, and cuts like “Love Doesn’t Work Like That” and “Two’s A Crowd” explain that there’s always an alternative to perfect relationships.  Frankly, “Two’s A Crowd” is by far the most commercially viable tune on the album, and if properly promoted, is destined to be a huge hit.  Leyla’s voice is Texas-raised country, edgy but true, powerful but controlled, and perfect for her style of writing.  The performances on the disc are exceptional, using a star-studded list of pickers, and making good use of the excellent engineering and mastering.  There aren’t a string of meaningless ballads collected here, rather an ensemble of well-crafted, crowd-pleasing, dance-inducing toe-tappers that will find a home in your disc player for an extended stay.  Fences is well on her way to meeting those 100 things that an artist needs for stardom.  A very good debut album is on the list.  Leyla Fences can check that task as completed.  Fans of great female-offered country music will enjoy the disc and will revel in the fresh subject matter.  This is an excellent project from start to finish.

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