For All the World to See

You may have heard Becky Schlegel’s brand of country/Americana/bluegrass music on the renown radio show A Prairie Home Companion, or come upon her singing at an International Bluegrass Association showcase or at one of her many gigs in the American midwest. A native of the Black Hills of South Dakota who grew up in a ranching family, Schlegel early on showed a preference for the family’s other love besides ranching: music.

She played in her mother’s band while growing up, and during high school summers was part of the Mountain Music Show in South Dakota. Her clear soprano and her clear understanding of the roots of country started with those experiences, and that’s shown gracefully on her latest release, For All the World to See, for which she wrote all the tracks. “ I didn’t write my first song until my 27th birthday,” Schlegel says, crediting that unexpected birthday present with a stronger focus for her music.

Now in her thirties and living in Minnesota, she and her band mates have racked up many awards from the Minnesota Music Academy, including bluegrass group and bluegrass artist of the year, several times each. For All the World to See marks her step up to widening her career beyond her north county home base, and it seems a timely one. Bound for Tennessee, the first single from the album, is a vividly written and thoughtfully sung story that will hold its own on any country radio station’s playlist, and please bluegrass listeners too.

Schelgel’s voice is a bit in the Claire Lynch/Alison Krauss range, and she can handle lively tunes and well as ballads. If you like either of those two artists, Becky Schlegel deserves your attention. Other standout tracks include Sound of Your Voice, Jenny, and the Hills of South Dakota.

Kerry Dexter is the former folk music editor at VH1.com and a contributing writer at the folk and world music magazine Dirty Linen. She also writes about music, the arts, and creative practice at the award winning blog Music Road

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