What began years ago as a simple friendship between Howard Salmon, a US Army and Air Force veteran and cross-country trucker, and Deborah Martin-Lemmon, an accomplished recording artist, developed into unexpected artistic chemistry as they began to discover their mutual love and respect for Country music. Today, their dream of recording together becomes a reality with the April 2nd release of their debut CD, Old Habits Are Hard to Break.
Each track on the 11 song disc has a rich, pure Country music feel, filled with soul and tradition. It’s a modern day version of what could easily be an American classic. Deborah wrote all of the songs on the album, bringing elements of Gospel and Americana to the collection while consistently maintaining an unmistakably Country feel. Howard and Deborah were honored to be accompanied by some of the finest musicians in the business, including Scott Joss on fiddle (Merle Haggard); Keith Edwards on drums (Amy Grant, Ricky Scaggs, Johnny Rivers, Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis); Bruce Turgon on Bass (Foreigner); Ben Haggard on electric lead guitar (Merle Haggard); Eric Day (Goose Creek Symphony – Nashville, Scott Joss) on Dobro and Lap Steel; and Thom Berry of Home Grown Blues, on harmonica. The disc was engineered, mixed and mastered by Bruce Turgon, with additional tracks recorded by Matthew Stewart.
With its distinctive Country music twang, Old Habits are Hard to Break is filled with subtle reminders of a more simple time in American history. Many tracks on the album have a familiar feel to them, beckoning the listener to sing along on the journey. Highlights include One of These Days, a song that reflects the old saying of “crying in your beer.” The title track, Old Habits Are Hard to Break, reminds us of golden days past, of America, and the hardships and triumphs we all go through in life. Take Me Down makes you feel as if you’re attending an old fashioned Baptism by the river, and the final track, Let’s Just Call It a Night, is filled with humor and good ol’ foot stomping rhythm.
Deborah didn’t have to dust off her cowboy boots for this disc, she’s simply returning to her roots and drawing on years of experience performing throughout the Country music circuit. She grew up admiring singers like June Carter Cash, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Throughout her career, Deborah has sung with some of the best, including Wes Harris (related to Audrey Murphy), David Ring (Steppenwolf) Earl Day, Buster Greene, Barney Kessel, Joe Bob Nelson, and many other musicians from Benny Goodman’s orchestra. A rare opportunity also chanced her to perform with Lionel Hampton and his group. Deborah has been privileged to work with some of the finest jazz and blues musicians in the country.
Howard Salmon is also in his element, keeping his cowboy-at-heart style in check and bringing the depth of his Country voice to the mix. A dedicated veteran of the US Army and Air Force, Howard began singing in the military choir that Deborah was directing at the time. The two hit it off immediately and always joked about making an album together. Years of keeping in touch and sharing music experiences finally led to the recording of the album.
Howard’s lifelong love for Country music shines through on Old Habits Are Hard to Break, and one can hear influences of George Jones, Alan Jackson and George Strait in his work. His debut album, These Trucks Are Made of Gold, was released in 2009 and featured songwriting from Salmon and others, including infamous trucker/poet Ron Terry and Al Orkins, Jr.
Hoping to bring a sense of “coming home” through their music, both Howard and Deborah are incredibly proud of Old Habits are Hard to Break. They believe it will resonate with listeners, bringing back memories that everyone can relate to in one way or another—no matter where you’re from.
Deborah reflects that “Every so often great moments in time occur…like when a group of very special individuals meet and create something wonderful. This project is one of those moments.”
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