My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: D Vincent Williams

Album Review: Craig Morgan – ‘Little Bit Of Life’

little bit of lifeCraig’s third and final album for Broken Bow was released in 2006. He co-produced the record with the always reliable Keith Stegall, and it sounds solid throughout, but suffers from relatively weak material.

The rapid paced rather generic title track about country living was the first, and most successful, single, reaching #7. ‘Tough’ just missed the top 10, peaking at #11. A tender ballad paying tribute to a hard working wife and mother, it was written by Monty Criswell and Joe Leathers, and is nicely sung. The effervescent ‘International Harvester’ (about a tractor driving farmer happy to block the roads for other motorists) got Craig back into the top 10. It got some critical attention online at the time, but I always liked it. There is a genuine charm about Craig’s delivery.

Craig co-wrote four songs this time around. ‘I Am’ and ‘My Kind Of Woman’ are rather bland filler. The rapid paced and not very melodic ‘I Guess You Had To Be There’ is a bit silly, with Craig sounding like Joe Diffie at his novelty worst. ‘The Song’ is a pleasant sounding but not terribly interesting semi-story song about the power of a record to touch people’s lives.

Morgan’s friend and frequent cowriter, Phil O’Donnell, also wrote ‘Nothin’ Goin’ Wrong Around Here’ with Buddy Owens and Gary Hannan; once more this sounds decent but is lyrically dull. Much the same goes for ‘Sweet Old Fashioned Goodness’, written by Michael White, Carson Chamberlain, and Lee Thomas Miller.

Much better than any of these is ‘The Ballad Of Mr Jenkins’ a tearjerker of a story song written by D Vincent Williams and Steve Mandile. Williams also co-wrote the album closer, ‘Look At ‘Em Fly’, with Jim Femino; this is a nice little song about noticing the little things.

The songs are limited lyrically, but this is a recognisably country sounding record, which is always a plus.

Grade: C+

Single Review: D. Vincent Williams – ‘Down By The River’

Texas born D. Vincent Williams has been writing songs in Nashville for over 15 years. A shortlived recording deal with Columbia in the late 90s didn’t work out, but now Bigger Picture Group, his publishing company, have taken him on as an artist in his own right.

Keith Stegall produces with a light hand, giving the pacy track a pleasantly laid back breezy summery feel with solidly country instrumentation which is quite reminiscent of some of what the Zac Brown Band is doing, but also with echoes of 80s groups like Alabama. D. Vincent has a pleasant if not very distinctive voice, which is suited to the unpressured lyric.

The lyric is a relatively undemanding one, inviting a sweetheart to spend the night together in a secluded spot by the river on a balmy summer night. While conventional enough – perhaps verging on cliché with the inevitable truck as the couple’s mode of transport – it is neatly put together, and the attractive melody and arrangement lend it more interest than most songs of its kind. Towards the end it fades into a jam which slightly outstays its welcome, but overall this is a very fresh sounding, attractive record which would be a refreshing addition to the airwaves if program directors were willing to give it a chance.

Grade: B

Listen here.

Album Review: Deryl Dodd – ‘RanDDom as I Am’

Deryl Dodd’s eighth album is released on Texas music specialists Smith Music Group, and is produced by the artist himself. His distinctive nasal tones work well interpreting the material, almost all self-written, and this record has a little more of a Texas/Red Dirt singer-songwritery feel than his previous work.

I really enjoyed the amusing self-mocking ‘Baby Where’s My Bottle’. The semi-alcoholic honky tonker compares himself to a baby, throwing a fit when his sweetheart has taken his bottle of booze away. The entertaining up-tempo honky tonker opens the album with a bang, and is also serving as the first single.

The melancholic ‘Loveletters’ (one of the few outside songs, written by Nate Kipp) has a pretty tune, with the protagonist addressing Virginia, an old love who has left him for an attempt at movie career. He wishes her well but has been unable to drag himself away from the ties of home to follow her:

Love letters and cigarettes
It’s been three years I can’t forget
Unwrap this chain around my neck for good
I’ve memorized every word you wrote and each night they go up in smoke
And I’m gonna die or I’m gonna choke, it’s true
I’m still not done with you

The highlight of the album is ‘Losin’ Ground’, a co-write with his one-time producer Brett Beavers, offers a gripping picture of an embattled farmer who is literally losing land to new highways. Also on a rural theme, ‘FM 2213’ (written by Tommy Conners and D Vincent Williams) paints a pleasantly atmospheric if rather rambling picture of a remote flatland country road.

‘Anybody Out There’ has a singer-songwriter feel. The mellow tune belies the lyric’s portrayal of depression and loneliness, with the protagonist wondering if anyone else has experienced the same feelings.

Fallin’ is a bit dull, repetitive lyrically and limited melodically, but there are better takes on romance on offer. ‘I Can Do This (Joy’s Song)’ is a tender love song with a fine vocal interpretation. Deryl’s own ‘Love Around Here’ is a charming but fairly conventional (and presumably autobiographical) picture of happy domestic life. The pretty, touching ‘Coming Home To You is a personal-sounding love song from a musician on the road missing his wife. Another travelling musician gets an unhappy ending, as his wife tells him he’s been gone ‘One Night Too Long’ in another of the highlights.

Defiant post-heatbreak, the protagonist of the bluesy ‘Somethin’ Ain’t Always Better Than Nothin’, declares,

I’d rather have nothin’ than somethin’ like you

‘Can’t Say No To Larry Joe’ with its raucous singalong pays tribute to a friend with exceptional persuasive powers – particularly when it comes to extending the night’s drinking, so that his
Let’s just have one more” turns into 22″

Deryl warns,

The best advice I can give is never say hello
Cause you can’t say no to Larry Joe

The record closes with ‘Who Am I’, a rather good humble gospel song.

Overall, this is a solid record, a world away from current radio tastes, but worth a hearing.

Grade: B+