Don't let their reputation fool you, Travels With Charley is far more than a bluegrass, dobro playing band from the Great White North. Their latest release, proves the versatility of its three members: singer Jackie Janzen, singer/guitarist/songwriter Steve Mitchell and dobro wizard Doug Cox. They've performed all over Canada and now it's time to get them to expand their horizons so we in the states can have the privilege of seeing them live.
Filled with many surprises, this well-produced album runs the gamut from the bluegrass and folk of the back hills to the soul of the South. It is the strength of Jackie Janzen's versatile vocals, however, which bring the listener into the fold and make TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY a group to be reckoned with. She can go from twangy bluegrass to throaty blues to an earthy folk sound in the blink of an eye. So it's no surprise that she is compared to such popular divas as Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. Janzen is blessed with a sweet, natural sounding voice. Her vast range of tone and emotion also includes just enough gravel to bring us down to earth.
If Jackie is the "soul" of the group, Steve Mitchell is the "backbone." He writes most of the lyrics on the album. He has a clever sense of wit and wisdom while his rhythm guitar and vocals complement each song without being intrusive. Steve and Jackie handle most of the lead vocals for the group.
Through it all is Doug Cox. His Dobro accents each song just enough, drawing you into the depth of the group's music, taking you to a different place with each song. Doug is the core or the "heart" of TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY, his inimitable stylings entrusting the group to its own unique yet traditional sound. Cox's expertise on the Dobro rates right up there with the best of them. He can make the dobro wail or caress, and it's his dobro that sets the course for this musical journey.