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Friday Night Blues

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Album Review

John Conlee is a benefactor of country music's complete lack of pretension — he's one of the most average-looking stars in the entertainment industry and never made a chart hit until his thirties. But his voice is a wonderfully unique and expressive instrument, ranking up there with Randy Travis' and Jon Anderson's as one of the most identifiable in modern country — it makes you forget for a moment that contemporary country music has increasingly been taken over by slick smoothies without a whit of personality. Friday Night Blues is a gem of an album filled with melancholy songs about everyday domestic dramas ("Friday Night Blues"), intersections of families and taverns ("Honky Tonk Toys"), and, especially, painfully realistic songs about relationships. His mood is wistful even when the messages are hopeful. Conlee's mournful reading of "Misery Loves Company" is more effective than Porter Wagoner's brisk hit version, while the title track and "She Can't Say That Anymore" were major hits. Friday Night Blues shows that honky tonk music remained a vital art form decades after its inception, and is a solidly consistent effort in a genre that is often oriented toward singles rather than albums.


Born: August 11, 1946 in Versailles, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most respected vocalists to emerge during the urban cowboy era, John Conlee was known for his superb taste in material and his distinctively melancholy voice. Conlee was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Versailles, KY, in 1946, and took up the guitar as a child, performing on local radio at age ten. He went on to sing with the town barbershop chorus, but didn't initially pursue music as a career, instead becoming a licensed mortician. He also worked as a disc jockey at numerous area...
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Friday Night Blues, John Conlee
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