My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Terri Clark – ‘Life Goes On’

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.

Grade: B-

Buy it from amazon.

3 responses to “Album Review: Terri Clark – ‘Life Goes On’

  1. bob March 25, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I liked one of your duds, “Bigger Windows”, but overall I think this is her weakest album.

  2. Thomas March 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    “She Didn’t Have Time” is one of my favourite Terri Clark songs and I wish it had done better on the charts. Rumour has it that Reba passed on the song so that Terri could record it. I wonder how it would have done on radio with Reba singing it or even as a duet? “I Wish He’d Been Drinking Whiskey” is also one of my favourites. I heard the demo version by Karyn Rochelle which was breathtaking. Another interesting fact: Terri had finished recording an album called Honky Tonk Songs but ended up going back to the studio and released this album. Only some of the previous songs made it onto this release. It’s a shame that the label didn’t seem to be behind this album (and especially the first single).

  3. Nicolas March 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    This album is easily my favorite of hers’. Not really a ‘bad’ song on here, although “Slow News Day” is prob. my least-favorite. Everything about this album screams ‘solid’ and I love playing it because its a very energetic album, and thats more my style of music.

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