My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Anthony Martin

Album Review: Little Texas – ‘Young For a Long Time’

61-e8qacvul2015’s Young For a Long Time is the second post-major label studio album from Little Texas, and like its predecessor, 2007’s Missing Years, it finds Porter Howell taking over lead vocalist duties from the now departed Brady Seals and Tim Rushlow. He is not as gifted a vocalist as his former bandmates, but he does a decent job. Unfortunately, the band’s sound is inevitably changed from what fans were used to, and the album’s material is not particularly inspiring. It’s a country rock effort, with no fiddle or steel anywhere to be found in the track listing.

The band members wrote all of the album’s songs themselves, and also shared production duties with Anthony Martin. The final product is somewhat uneven. There is far worse music being played on country radio as we speak. Young For a Long Time never quites rises to the levels of greatness, but it never sinks to the depths of terrible, either, with the sole exception of the bro-country number “Yeah Yeah Yeah” which is every bit as awful as the title suggests. I guess they didn’t get the memo that the bro-country trend was past its peak in 2015.
While the album’s up-tempo numbers are distinctly non-descript and unmemorable, the ballads aren’t bad. I quite enjoyed “Take This Walk With Me”, which would make a good wedding song, and “How Many Chances”, which finds the protagonist frustrated when the object of his unrequited love continues to turn a blind eye to the faults of her current lover. The album’s two best tracks, however, are re-recordings of Little Texas’ best known hits, “What Might Have Been” and “God Blessed Texas”. Both are decently performed, but their inclusion is bound to draw comparisons – probably unfavorable — to the band’s earlier incarnation. Re-recordings rarely recreate the magic of the original versions, even when the key players remain the same.

It’s difficult for any band that undergoes major personnel changes to remain commercially viable. Little Texas is certainly no exception. Young For a Long Time is not a great album by any means, but it exceeded my expectations. While I wouldn’t rush out to buy it, it’s worth listening to if it’s included in any streaming services (like Amazon Music) to which you might subscribe.

Grade: C

Album Review: Little Texas – ‘Missing Years’

mi0001766288After their eponymous album failed to reignite their career Little Texas all but disappeared. Tim Rushlow joined Brady Seals in perusing a solo career, riding high with the #8 “She Misses Him” when Atlantic shuttered its Nashville division in 2001 (which, if you may remember, also displaced Craig Morgan). Seals, despite multiple attempts, never gained traction with any of his solo recordings.

Duane Propes, Del Gray, Porter Howell, and Dwayne O’Brien resurrected Little Texas in 2004 with pushback from Rushlow, who sued in an attempt to block them from using the ‘Little Texas’ name. His attempts were unsuccessful and the band signed with Montage Music Group in 2007. The band’s first new release in ten years was The Very Best of Little Texas: Live and Loud, a concert album with Powell at the helm.

The band returned a month later with Missing Years, a proper studio recording produced by Anthony Martin. Little Texas hardly had a prayer of a legitimate resurgence, although it didn’t deter Montage from pushing ahead with three singles from the album.

They led with “Your Woman,” an awful and generic electric rocker, which didn’t chart. The title track was a slight return to form, a pop ballad, that miraculously peaked at #45. Final single “Party Life,” another generic rocker, also failed to chart.

Missing Years is nothing short of a disaster with zero tracks worth highlighting. The biggest misstep in this album specifically is using Howell as the lead singer. The man may have some talents but they aren’t his voice, an unlistenable mix of growly gruff. Martin places him in the grunge rock style run into the ground by Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, which suits him, but not the audience.

I understand that spotlighting Little Texas wasn’t a popular choice amongst our readers and I can fully understand how they’d unnerve those who prefer a more pure take on country music. But I’ve always enjoyed both Seals and Rushlow and the contributions they brought to the band. Missing Years proves they were the band. Without either of them, Little Texas is nothing more than a waste of space. I have no problem with the band reuniting, but I’m with Rushlow in wishing they didn’t use the Little Texas name for this wasted second act. It doesn’t matter, though, as no one truly cared if they reunited or not. Certainly not those fans who pushed Big Time past double platinum.

Grade: D