My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Jake Worthington

Some hidden gems of 2017

As was the case last year, https://mykindofcountry.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/top-10-hidden-gems-of-2016/ I haven’t compiled a singles list this year, but this list of hidden gems highlights some of the great album tracks from records that didn’t make my albums of the year list. A few were also singles. I have omitted tracks which were singles only, or Alan Jackson’s outstanding new single ‘The Older I Get’ would undoubtedly have vied for one of the top positions.

10. Mike Bentley – ‘The Little T’ (from All I’ve Got)

An absorbing story song from a great bluegrass album which I hope to review in the new year. Bentley, formerly lead singer of Cumberland Gap Connection, is now out on his own, and developing into one of the best current male bluegrass singers.

9. Sons of the Palomino – ‘Outta This Town’ (from Sons Of The Palomino)

Successful songwriter Jeffrey Steele’s latest project was an overlooked gem itself, and this particular cut about feeling trapped in a dying small town is rather lovely. The album version features harmonies from Emmylou Harris.

8. Reba McEntire – ‘Jesus Loves Me’ (from Sing It Now)

Reba’s new religious album was an unexpected pleasure this year. I generally preferred the quiet emotion of the more traditional hymns on the first part of the two-disk set to the more contemporary second half, and this track was the very finest recording for my measure.

7. Martina McBride – ‘Here Comes That Rainbow Again’ (from Various Artists, The Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson Live)

A live cover of one of Kris Kristofferson’s most moving songs (based on an incident in The Grapes Of Wrath), sung by one of the best female vocalists in mainstream country. Martina’s voice hasn’t always been matched by her material, so this is a joy.

6. Aaron Watson – ‘Texas Lullaby’ (from Vaquero)

A lovely story song about a World War II soldier from Texas and his love story.

5. Darin & Brooke Aldridge – ‘Fit For A King’ (from Faster & Farther)

This dramatic high lonesome story song about a street preacher was also a highlight on Gene Watson’s new gospel album, which did make my top 10. But before that it shone on the bluegrass husband and wife’s latest effort. Brooke’s strong mountain vocal has a raw intensity, supported by the harmony of Charli Robertson from Flatt Lonesome. The rest of the album was pretty good, too.

4. Lonesome River Band – ‘Blackbirds And Crows’ (from Mayhayley’s House)

A brilliantly sung bluegrass murder ballad.

3. Kendell Marvel, ‘Hurtin’ Gets Hard’ (from Lowdown & Lonesome)

A classic style traditional country heartbreaker with powerful vocals.

2. Trace Akins – ‘Watered Down’ (from Something’s Going On)

This one was actually a single – https://mykindofcountry.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/single-review-trace-adkins-watered-down/
Written by Matt Jenkins, Trevor Rosen and Shane McAnally, this mature ballad about growing older was by far the best song on Trace’s otherwise disappointing new album. Trace is another great singer with a hit and miss approach to his material, and he really needs to do more songs like this as he transitions to the minor labels.

1. Jake Worthington – ‘A Lot Of Room To Talk’ (from Hell Of A Highway)

A gorgeous traditional country sad song from an excellent singer. If this had been released 25 years ago it would have been a monster hit. I would like to hear a lot more from this young artist.

EP Review: Jake Worthington – ‘Hell Of A Highway’

Released 18 months after his debut, the young traditional country singer Jake Worthington’s second EP is a further step forward. His rich mature voice, which belies his youth (he is still only 21) is matched here by some excellent songs.

The energetic honky tonker ‘How Do You Honky Tonk’ opens proceedings, with a name drop for Mark Chesnutt, and is very reminiscent of Chesnut’s 90s work. The mid paced ‘Big Time Lonesome’ is about coping with a broken heart, and is another very good song.

The highlights are two sad ballads. ‘A Lot Of Room To Talk’ is an instant classic, a lovely sad ballad about a man discovering the loneliness of an empty house following his wife’s departure:

I should’ve listened more to her more
When she was still around
I guess I got what I deserved
I sure do hear her now
What good is pride now that she’s gone
When did our house stop being home
Now there’s too many what if opportunities I missed
And a lot of room to talk

Lots of steel guitar adds the final touches.

Also outstanding is the title track, which sees another woman leaving, and a man left behind:

Said I’d give you all the space that you wanted
Just didn’t know you want so much

So tonight I’m playing my guitar
And I’m crying like a country song
Sitting here staring out the window
Wondering how’d you ever get so gone
Must be one hell of a highway you’re on

The final track is a pleasant if inconsequential love song, ‘Don’t Think Twice’, sung well.

This is a highly enjoyable and solidly country EP. Add it to Jake’s previous, self-titled EP, and you have an album’s worth of material.

Grade: A

EP Review: Jake Worthington – ‘Jake Worthington’

jake worthingtonTexan Jake Worthington was just 17 when he finished in second place on The Voice last year. It didn’t lead directly to anything significant for him, but now, still in his teens, he has released a five-track EP of neo-traditional country music which is worth checking out. He has an excellent voice with classic country stylings, and all the right instincts musically. The solid country production is in keeping with his voice, and he has found some good material.

The outstanding song is ‘This Damn Memory’, a classic styled heartbreak tune about being unable to shake a memory. I’d recommend this as a download even if you pass on the rest.

Also notable, the beautifully sung ‘Friends’ is an intensely told story song about how a friend’s waning stops a man from drink driving and unwittingly killing his own son:

Just one more drink he would’ve ran right through that traffic light
But he slammed on his brakes in the nick of time
As a vintage Mustang passed on the other side
It was the souped up kind
Got him to thinkin’ back at the bar before he left
What a friend said
“Man just one more beer, someone’ll end up dead”
‘Bout time he listened and sat that bottle down
Cause home was on the far side of town

Friends
They’ll tell you when you’re wrong
No matter what the cost
They don’t mean any harm
‘Cause what just happened sure set his heart sinking
Friends drive friends to thinkin’

‘Just Keep Falling In Love’ is very charming, and ‘That’s When’ is a nice straightforward love song.

‘Don’t Let the Redneck (Fool Ya)’ is the only track I could live without, a bootscooting number reminiscent of Brooks & Dunn at their most generic. It could be worse, but doesn’t show off Jake’s real strength, his rich, emotive voice.

This is a promising debut from a young artist. I’m only sorry it’s not a full length album.

Grade: A-