Life Goes On was the last album Terri Clark released during her decade-long association with Mercury Records. It’s also her first without long-time producer Keith Stegall at the helm, as Byron Gallimore and James Stroud produce different tracks. While it would be her only number-one charting album (on the Canadian Country Albums chart), only one single gained a little traction at radio. Two subsequent releases failed to chart in the U.S. or Canada, a sign that the label wasn’t at all invested in the album’s success.
The lone hit single from the set, ‘She Didn’t Have Time’, is a waltzing three-act story song that follows an independent woman through a separation from her husband, reinvention as a single mother, and finally, on to a happy ending when she meets the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, this stalled at a rather disappointing #25, no other singles charted, and was the signal of the end of Terri Clark’s hit-making days with country radio.
As with most Terri Clark records, here ballads make for the strongest moments. The album’s cornerstone is ‘I Wish He’d Been Drinking Whiskey’, a stone-country weeper in which the narrator laments her newly sober husband telling her he doesn’t love her anymore. And then there’s ‘Not Enough Tequila’, an understated healing-heart ballad that leans more to the contemporary than most of the album, and is another highlight.
The disc opens on a high note with a couple of jaunty up-tempo romps. The title track ‘Life Goes On’ revisits past heartaches on the way to true love, while ‘Damn Right’ bemoans the loss of a ill-fitted, yet passionate, love affair. Both follow the Terri Clark sound-template with the electric guitar leading the way, but also with prominent fiddle and the rhythm section mixed in high. The raucous ‘Honky Tonk Song’, from the pens of hit-making heavyweights Kent Blazy and Leslie Satcher, is another high-octane number that hits all the right grooves.
The only duds come from the unbalanced number of up-tempos. Songs like ‘Bigger Windows’ and ‘Cowboy Days’ sound forced in both production, and Clark appears to be phoning them in. These are counter-balanced nicely by some of Clark’s own co-writes stacked at the end. ‘Travelin’ Soul’ is the obligatory life-on-the-road song the singer always finds room for, and ‘Everybody’s Gotta Go Sometime’ is a shuffling number with the theme of goodbye is inevitable. Embrace it.
Label support or no, Life Goes On would prove another strong album in Terri Clark’s discography.
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