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on 12 May 2014
This is why I sit through three hours of circus mayhem called Eurovision. There's nearly always a diamond to be found in there somewhere. All the fuss may have been about the bearded lady but this act came second and deservedly so (actually they deserved to win it). From the first note you were hooked by genuine musicianship and quality. Calm After The Storm was my clear winner and it was purely about the music, not making some kind of statement. I had no hesitation in buying the album, despite this not being my favourite musical genre. It doesn't disappoint. Quality tracks throughout. This is well crafted and well played. I suspect these guys have probably spent some time in the US. You would certainly think that if you did not know they were from the Netherlands. I hope they have a big future.
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on 12 May 2014
"The Common Linnets" is the first (and possibly only) album by the Dutch "songbirds" Ilse DeLange and Waylon, who formed country-duo The Common Linnets to represent the Netherlands at the 2014 European Eurovision Song Contest and came in second place. Their self-titled record was born from their love of country and folk, and it shows.

Of course, the most interesting tune is their Eurovision song "Calm After The Storm," also the album opener. This country/bluegrass track is simply a consistently high number that is executed to perfection. Deceptively simple, at first it might not seem like much but it definitely grows on you. Next song, the up-tempo "Hungry Hands," is one of my favorites, a very catchy and poppy country-rock track. This is followed by "Arms Of Salvation," a track with a strong Eagles-vibe. Next up are the more traditional country songs "Still Loving After You" and "Sun Song," while the upbeat pop-song "Lovers & Liars" is followed by another beautiful country/pop-ballad, "Broken But Home."

This is followed by the Carpenters-like "Before Complete Surrender." Another standout track is "Where Do I Go With Me," in which Waylon seemingly channels his idol Waylon Jennings, although the song also shows some Johnny Cash-influences. Incidentally, Waylon's real name is Willem Bijkerk and he picked his artists name from this country-icon. Foot-stomper "Time Has No Mercy" is given a nice bluesy edge by Waylon. The up-beat bluesy pop-song "Give Me a Reason" is followed by "When Love Was King," which has a nice rock-edge. The album closer is ballad "Love Goes On," Delange's beautiful tribute to her father, who passed away in 2012.

As solo-artists, Ilse DeLange and Waylon are A-list music stars in the Netherlands. In 1998, Ilse established herself as a country-artist with her debut-album "World Of Hurt." Since then, she moved more into the modern country pop-rock direction with immense success. Her most recent record is the outstanding 2012 album "Eye Of The Hurricane." Waylon is a pop-rock-soul artist who made his debut with the 2009 album "Wicked Ways." His most recent album is the 2011 "After All," while his third studio-album "Heaven After Midnight" will be released in September 2014.

Most notable about the "The Common Linnets" are the wonderful harmonies, as Ilse and Waylon complement each other beautifully, like Alison Krauss and Robert Plant did for example on their similar duo album from 2007, "Raising Sand." "The Common Linnets" is a very successful project, a superb back-to-country-basics record, that at times is beautifully understated but often enough uplifting. I do hope they will decided to do more projects as "The Common Linnets," because this is for both artists an outstanding addition to their discography and also a nice calling-card for the country genre.
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on 16 May 2014
The Common Linnets won the Eurovision for me by a street mile. Two gorgeous people singing completely gorgeous harmonies. A trance junky at heart, this tune could see me veering towards a bit of country... Although I think Avicci has done a lot for this genre recently with his dance/country combo, Wake Me Up. I love this and I am not ashamed to admit it. The real winner of the Eurovision will see the money rolling in and I don't think it will be the bearded lady!
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on 19 May 2014
They smashed the Eurovision Song Contest with a track that could have been lifted straight off a Lady Antebellum CD but if you think that's all they are, take a listen and enjoy because this is so much more than any sort of copy. Having listened to the whole album, I absolutely love it. Very mellow and melodic with catchy riffs that could have strolled straight out of the new Nashville that Lady A and Rascal Flatts have brought back into the sun. This rolls through the Calm After The Storm, into the slightly rocky Hungry hands and meanders in and out of classic country before dropping squarely into classy tracks like Broken But Home.
If you enjoy Lady A, buy this. Don't wait. Just grab it and you won't regret it at all. Their voices complement each other perfectly and I think I can safely say that this duo will be around internationally long after Eurovision 2014 is forgotten.
Perfect upbeat stuff to brighten a dark evening and leave your foot tapping and a smile on your face. First class.
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on 12 May 2014
Forget that they were part of Eurovision and just think Nashville! This album is amazing, it's modern country music at it's best, you cannot help but tap your foot. They have a fabulous harmony and I really hope that this album just a taste of things to come.
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on 30 May 2014
'Calm after the storm' is wonderful and, like many reviewers, what drew me to this album.
I'm no huge Country aficionado (either 'classic' or 'modern'), but I like a good bit of pedal guitar, a clever spot of harmonising and a generally well-crafted song. So this album as a whole ticks all those boxes; beautifully sung (particularly by De Lange - she's a major talent), tuneful and thoughtful, it's very easy on the ear throughout. Aside from the obvious Eurovision entry, there are 3-4 top songs on here; Give me a Reason, When love was king and Hungry Hands all sound like radio-friendly tunes to me.
The only thing I'm finding it hard to get past is that they are Dutch! You wouldn't, of course, realise this from their flawless vocals ('Calm after the schtorm', this ain't). But somehow references to 'Tennessee plains' and the like do sound a little out of place, though I'm aware that windmills and reclaimed land have less of an authentic C&W ring to them. I appreciate that this may mark me out as a daft old Englishman, but in my defence, I also find it odd when I hear artists from our little island affecting American accents and quite clearly pretending to be from The Bronx when they are actually from Surrey. Still, music is a unifying thing; many years ago I was in Singapore and was both bowled over and in stitches watching a veritable army of locals line-dancing in the street to a Ronan Keating country-lite ditty. So, in the spirit of hoedowners from the Far East and Stockbroker belt rappers, I doff my cap (or should that be 10 gallon hat) to the Nashville Netherlanders!
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on 16 May 2014
I'm not a huge country music fan... I do like Crosby, Stills and Nash and some more recent country artists such as Kacey Musgraves, though.

So I was watching Eurovision and (yawn) it was about as dreadful as it usually is but then... The Netherlands entry came along and I sat up, spilling popcorn and beer all over the place!

What a great song! It just grows and grows. I went online immediately to buy the album and have listened to it pretty much ever since then... There's not a bad song on the album. Styles range from Country through sixties Californian pop to easy listening, but everything is well recorded and shows a huge talent that would otherwise have slipped through my net.

Think a more country version of the Corrs and you're not far out, I guess.

So why only 4 stars? Well, the content does veer a little too far to the comfortable side of music for my taste and that's the only reason. If you like country, smooth pop or some of the more produced gaelic singers, this might be for you.

For fun, google an interview with the band - while speaking, they are 100% Dutch, but as soon as they start to sing, they switch to 100% Nashville - I find it hilarious!
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on 16 May 2014
I didn't expect to be buying the album from one of the contestants of the Eurovision Song contest 2014 but I did.
Their Eurovision entry 'The Calm Before The Storm' is very catchy and so is the rest of the album. Not a weak track on it.
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on 21 May 2014
I am putting my cards on the table and nailing my colours to the mast when i say that The Common Linnets should have won this years Eurovision Tactical Voting Contest!I don't want to go down the political road,though clearly the Austrian entry did.Had Conchita/Tom had been clean shaven,i doubt if i would be reviewing this album by the Eurovision runners up!Hopefully,this might be the big break that could establish Ilse Delange as a world wide performer not forgetting her singing partner Waylon of course.If Nederland win the 2014 World Cup,this might help me[and 'The Linnets]get over the disappointment.This is a great album,which is top of the Dutch album charts,i don't know how it's doing in Austria......
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on 6 June 2014
Every year I watch the Eurovision. Partly because I do really love it and partly because I think it's hilarious. Until I heard these guys on the semi-finals. Being a big fan of country and classic rock, I was instantly pulled into their song and their charm. I was quite shocked really, finding talent like this from Eurovision, of all places. Extremely happy that they came second, I was not hesitant to purchase this album, and you shouldn't be either.

Favourite songs include:
Clam After the Storm - (their Eurovision song)
Hungry Hands - (very reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac)
Arms of Salvation
Broken But Home
Time Has No Mercy
When Love Was King
Love Goes On

Brilliant, lyricists, vocalists and musicians.
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