My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Adam Harvey — ‘Can’t Settle for Less’

Adam Harvey released his sixth album, Can’t Settle for Less, in January 2005. It peaked at #20 on the Australian Country Album chart.

Among the album’s 13 tracks are six songs recorded by other artists in the States and likely unfamiliar to Harvey’s audiences Down Under. He opens with a brilliant take on Don Williams’ “I’ve Been Loved By The Best,” a mid-tempo stunner about a man and his recent love.

“I Want My Rib Back” is a silly and somewhat obscure song Keith Whitley had recorded for the Blake Mevis produced follow-up to LA to Miami that was never released. His version eventually saw the light of day on Kentucky Bluebird before the song found its way to Kenny Chesney on his Capricorn debut, In My Wildest Dreams. Harvey does well with the song, which has never been one of my favorites.

“Cadillac Tears” was originally recorded by Kevin Denney for his self-titled debut in 2002. The uptempo honky tonker is gorgeous and finds a woman wallowing that she’s single, despite being very well off financially from her previous lover. “Lady Lay Down” was a #1 single for John Conlee from his Rose Colored Glasses album in 1978. The traditional ballad is wonderful, although a bit slicker than I would’ve expected from Harvey.

“Orphan of the Road” is an old Johnny Cash song about a cowboy and a carnie girl, and their one-time three-day stand. The track is exquisite, with Harvey turning in a revelatory performance framed in a simple acoustic arrangement. “Life Don’t Have To Mean Nothing At All” was written by Tom T. Hall and covered by Joe Nichols on Man With A Memory in 2002. The song itself is charming, and Harvey turns in a fabulous performance of it.

The rest of the album’s tracks are original and credited to Harvey. “That’s Just How She Gets” is an amusing look at a woman’s behavior when her man stumbles home drunk. “The Biggest Fool” is an ear-catching mid-tempo ballad with a seductive traditional arrangement. “God Made Beer” is the first real inane track on the album, which scores points for its working man undertones, but suffers from an unintelligent lyric. “Doghouse” is also a bit silly.

“That’s What You Call A Friend” is a tasteful yet somewhat predictable mid-tempo ballad. “Missing Heroes” is a contemporary traditional ballad typical of the era. “Once Upon A Long Time Gone” is a gorgeous ballad set to an old-time-y country arrangement. Harvey’s vocal is spellbinding. This is the kind of song I could see Lee Ann Womack recording.

Can’t Settle for Less truly is an incredible album of originals mixed between well-chosen songs sung by other artists. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close to it. Harvey reminds me a lot of Josh Turner, especially on this album. He has a very similar tone to his voice that is very appealing. This album is also available on Apple Music and iTunes and is well worth checking out.

Grade: A

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4 responses to “Album Review: Adam Harvey — ‘Can’t Settle for Less’

  1. Aussie country girl October 15, 2018 at 6:19 am

    “God Made Beer” is a great song and “Doghouse” is an Australian term, meaning in trouble with your partner. This is a fantastic album and I’m so pleased that Adam is getting the exposure that he deserves.

    • Occasional Hope October 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Doghouse was previously recorded by John Conlee.

    • Paul W Dennis October 16, 2018 at 12:20 am

      It means the same thing here – Hank Williams best sang of the idea in his classic “Move It On Over”.

      Conlee’s version of “Doghouse” was not a big hit but would have done better had it been released a few years earlier when Conlee was in his prime as a hitmaker

      • Luckyoldsun October 16, 2018 at 9:44 pm

        And Steve Earle wrote a book of short stores in the early 2000’s titled “Doghouse Roses.”
        The character that he wrote about in that story was not bringing roses to his dog. lol.

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