I must confess that i was never into The Stands and i bought this album solely on the basis that Ethan Johns produced it, as if there is one thing that will almost guarantee, it's that it should sound great, and 'Bright Light Ballads' does. I was also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the songs. As much as Howard Eliott Payne wears his influences on his sleeve, with Bob Dylan on one side and Ray Lamontagne/Ryan Adams on the other, his own personality does get through, just! The swaggering 'Come Down Easy' and 'Seven Years' are probably the highlights for me. One of the features of this album is the use of the violin, which really propels some of the songs. With ten songs clocking in at 35 minutes, this is an impressive folk/country album that definitely doesn't outstay its welcome.