My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Justin Moore

Album Review: Tracy Lawrence – ‘Good Old Days’

If popular culture is to be believed, it seems the 1990s is the hottest decade right now. Most of the ‘new’ television shows are reboots of classics from the era, including Full House and Will & Grace, with the originals casts reprising their roles. In popular music, if you were a major player 20-25 years ago, then its suddenly fashionable to return with new music and slews of concert dates.

In country music, this trend extends to the return of Faith Hill and Shania Twain with their first new music in more than a decade while Garth Brooks is wrapping up his massive three-year tour this month in Nashville. Even Dixie Chicks came home to the United States with their first tour in ten years. What’s old is new again or rather the music that defined my childhood is suddenly hip again.

It would be a stretch to place Tracy Lawrence at the same level since he was never a global superstar or wheeled much influence on an international stage. But he was one of the most consistent and traditional artists in his day, with a catalog that more than stands up to anything released by the artists who may have eclipsed him in status.

To celebrate this resurgence, Lawrence has released Good Ole Days, which recognizes what he refers to as a ‘hunger for the music from my era.’ The album pairs him with modern day country artists singing his hits. The whole concept does seem like a gimmick, a cash grab for the gullible fan unaware they are likely only lining the pockets of the executive who dreamt up this project. But really it’s a chance to finally hear country’s current class sing real well-written songs for the first time in their careers. I jumped at the chance to review this album simply so I could hear how these artists sound when forced to interrupt the actual country music. I’ve always had a theory that there is talent there if these artists had the proper vehicle to show it off.

This is the proper vehicle because instead of the artists making these songs their own, with their typical non-country producers and such, they have to stick within the confines of the original arrangements, including the steel, fiddle, and twang. Without the ability to hide, every weakness would be on the table.

Luke Bryan tackles Lawrence’s 1991 debut “Sticks and Stones” and handles it well. I wasn’t impressed with Jason Aldean’s take on “Just Can’t Break It to My Heart,” his voice was a bit too dirty, but the energy was good.

I remember reading in Quotable Country, on the dearly-departed Country California, Justin Moore says if he had a say he would make an album in the vein of I See It Now. He goes back a bit further here with “Alibis” and knocks it out of the park. Moore is a great country singer and it’s a shame he has to reside in this current climate.

Dustin Lynch sounds exactly like a young Lawrence on “Texas Tornado,” which is kind of scary. His performance isn’t excellent, but it’s damn close. I was surprised Miranda Lambert, who has been known to belt this out in concert, wasn’t singing it but that could’ve been label politics.

Probably the newest artist featured here is Luke Combs, who just hit number one with “When It Rains It Pours.” There’s no mistaking he’s a country singer and he easily pulls this off. The same is true for Chris Young, but he sounds like he’s just going through the paces on “If The Good Die Young.” If he had just let go the results could’ve been incredible.

The legend of Tim McGraw is he moved to Nashville on May 9, 1989, and has always said he’s more of a storyteller while Keith Whitley is a singer. I agree wholeheartedly, but his performance of “Time Marches On” is bland. In contrast, Easton Corbin shines on “Paint Me A Birmingham.”

Kellie Pickler’s talent is wasted on “Stars Over Texas,” which finds her regulated to singing the chorus. As the sole female voice on the whole album, you would’ve thought she’d be allowed more of a presence. I didn’t care for her vocal either, which makes her sound like a little girl.

There are two new songs in the mix. Brad Arnold, the lead singer of Alternative Rock band Three Doors Down (think ‘Here Without You’) joins Lawrence on the title track, which is being billed as his “country music debut.” The song, which also features Big & Rich, is a faux-rock disaster. The military-themed fiddle drenched ballad “Finally Home,” which features Craig Morgan, is better but not really for my tastes.

Good Ole Days is a great concept with lousy execution. These tracks are collaborations between the singer and Tracy Lawrence which doesn’t work on any level. Get rid of Lawrence entirely and turn this into the proper tribute album it’s screaming to be. His nasally twang is insufferable and pointlessly distracting. The lack of female artists in the mix is also troubling, as you don’t need just men to sing these songs.

Grade: B-

Advertisements

Week ending 9/2/17: #1 singles this week in country music history

1957 (Sales): Bye Bye Love — The Everly Brothers (Cadence)

1957 (Disc Jockeys): Bye Bye Love — The Everly Brothers (Cadence)

1967: Branded Man — Merle Haggard (Capitol)

1977Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue — Crystal Gayle (United Artists)

1987: Born to Boogie — Hank Williams Jr. (Warner Bros./Curb)

1997: She’s Got It All — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2007: Never Wanted Nothing More — Kenny Chesney (BNA)

2017: Body Like a Back Road — Sam Hunt (MCA)

2017 (Airplay): Somebody Else Will — Justin Moore (Valory)

Week ending 10/8/16: #1 singles this week in country music history

51qnfes7xbl-_ss5001956 (Sales): Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1956 (Jukebox): Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog — Elvis Presley (RCA)

1956 (Disc Jockeys):Crazy Arms — Ray Price (Columbia)

1966: Almost Persuaded — David Houston (Epic)

1976: Here’s Some Love — Tanya Tucker (MCA)

1986: Always Have, Always Will — Janie Fricke (Columbia)

1996: So Much For Pretending — Bryan White (Asylum)

2006: Give It Away — George Strait (MCA)

2016: Forever Country — Artists of Then, Now & Forever (MCA)

2016 (Airplay): You Look Like I Need a Drink — Justin Moore (Valory)

Week ending 7/5/14: #1 singles this week in country music history

vern1954 (Sales): I Don’t Hurt Anymore — Hank Snow (RCA)

1954 (Jukebox): Slowly — Webb Pierce (Decca)

1954 (Disc Jockeys): Even Tho — Webb Pierce (Decca)

1964: My Heart Skips A Beat — Buck Owens (Capitol)

1974: Room Full of Roses –Mickey Gilley (Playboy)

1984: I Can Tell By The Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight) — Vern Gosdin (Compleat)

1994: Wink — Neal McCoy (Atlantic)

2004: If You Ever Stop Loving Me — Montgomery Gentry (Columbia)

2014: : Play It Again — Luke Bryan (Capitol)

2014 (Airplay): Lettin’ The Night Roll — Justin Moore (Valory)

My predictions for the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards

Much like the state of modern country music the 49th annual Academy of Country Music are somewhat of a joke, marred by controversy and shameless rule breaking. Trigger, from Saving Country Music, did an excellent job summing up Justin Moore’s erroneous nomination for New Artist of the Year and exposing the truth behind the ‘fan voting.’ I highly suggest reading these three articles before proceeding further:

Justin Moore Should Be Disqualified from ACM’s “New Artist”

ACM’s Respond to Justin Moore’s “New Artist” Ineligibility

Why The Best Fan Vote for the ACM’s Is No Vote At All

 That being said, when the show airs this Sunday on CBS, it promises to be a fun night of modern country music. Here are the nominees. My Should Win / Will Win are predictions below:

UnknownEntertainer of the Year

It’s a solid list of deserving nominees who’ve all had a very big year in one-way or another.

Should Win: George Strait – he captured the CMA equivalent last fall in a surprise victory and continues to show all the ‘young guns’ how it’s done on his farewell Cowboy Rides Away Tour. He’s a legend, Country Music Hall of Famer, and the single most consistent artist and performer of the past thirty years. For him to lose would be an injustice.

Will Win: Blake Shelton or Luke Bryan – the show co-hosts are at the height of their popularity, with everything they touch turning to Gold. Bryan surprisingly won last year, so I’m betting Shelton will edge him out, and take home his first such trophy from the ACM. That is, if they don’t give the award to Strait.

Read more of this post

Week ending 1/5/13: #1 singles this week in country music history

johnanderson1953 (Sales): Jambalaya (On The Bayou) — Hank Williams (MGM)

1953 (Jukebox): Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes — Skeets McDonald (Capitol)

1953 (Disc Jockeys):
Jambalaya (On The Bayou) — Hank Williams (MGM)

1963: Ruby Ann — Marty Robbins (Columbia)

1973: She’s Got To Be A Saint — Ray Price (Columbia)

1983: Wild and Blue — John Anderson (Warner Bros.)

1993: Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away — Vince Gill (MCA)

2003: She’ll Leave You With A Smile — George Strait (MCA)

2013: Cruise — Florida Georgia Line (Republic Nashville)

2013 (Airplay): ‘Til My Last Day — Justin Moore (Valory)

Week ending 7/23/11: #1 singles this week in country music history

1951: I Wanna Play House With You — Eddy Arnold (RCA)

1961: Heartbreak, USA — Kitty Wells (Decca)

1971: When You’re Hot, You’re Hot — Jerry Reed (RCA)

1981: Feels So Right — Alabama (RCA)

1991: Don’t Rock The Jukebox — Alan Jackson (Arista)

2001: I’m Already There — Lonestar (BNA)

2011: If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away — Justin Moore (Valory)

Dogs and duds: The worst singles of 2010

It’s not usually our style here at My Kind of Country to spend a lot of time writing biting reviews about all the crap we don’t like.  You can believe that our writers can be as brutal as the next when the dreck crosses our desks.  But hey, everybody’s gotta have a niche’ and ours is writing positively about only what we deem print-worthy.  Aside from that, there are so many other talented writers churning out brilliantly scathing analyses all over the interweb.  Still, we couldn’t resist – just this one time of year – to compile a list of the worst singles of the year, and then see just how blistered we can get a few superfans.

So here they are, the bottom of the bottom.  These are ranked in order, by a points system, taken from respective lists from Razor X, Occasional Hope, and myself.  Listening while you read is not necessary nor recommended.

P.S.  When commenting, please refrain from expletives.  Attacking the writers’ taste in music, intelligence, or even our Mamas won’t bother us so much.  Just keep it clean please.  Enjoy!

10. Jason Aldean – Crazy Town

I’m usually the first one to enjoy a song that paints up the roundabouts of Music Row. Romanticizing your hard-beaten path to stardom or just lamenting the rigors of the road in song is something of a rite of passage in country music.  Listening to this tune, it’s obvious Aldean is adhering to his own adage with ‘To be a star you gotta bang bang bang’. The problem is, he doesn’t even have the right drum. – J.R.

9. Craig Morgan — Still A Little Chicken Left On That Bone

I really dislike rock-oriented songs that try to gain country cred by adding some banjo to the mix, but it is the shouted chorus that really makes this record annoying. – R.X.

Banjo added to the mix or no, I bet even those guys from Deliverance would change the station when this came on. – J.R.

8. Toby Keith – Every Dog Has Its Day

Like Trace Adkins, Toby Keith continues to reach new lows with his pseudo-clever ditties such as this. Here, your typical white-trash honky-tonk angel (the same gal from all of Toby’s classy odes to true love) finally knocks out a suitor coming on too strong. I’m not sure what’s worse: that the narrator actually thought saying “every dog has its day dog but today dog just ain’t yours” would cool the suitor’s jets, or that someone thought this story even needed telling. – J.R.

7. The JaneDear Girls – Wildflower

Another overproduced rock-based number with an extremely grating sing-song chorus. – R.X.

Everything about this is awful. The girls can’t sing very well, even given a song with only a few notes to sing, and the overly processed sound is entirely inappropriate for a song comparing the protagonist to a wild flower. – O.H.

6. Laura Bell Bundy – Giddy On Up

I don’t know whether to dismiss this one as something that shouldn’t be taken seriously or to be offended that Bundy and her team thought that country music fans were so lacking in taste that we’d actually like something like this. – R.X.

5. Sugarland – Stuck Like Glue

Inane lyrics and annoying vocal tics (even before the reggae part starts). – O.H.

An absolute hot mess of a record that is annoying up until the reggae part, and from that point on it’s just embarrassing. – R.X.

4. Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins – Hillbilly Bone

Heavy handed production and clichéd redneck anthem lyrics combined with a pseudo hip-hop beat are the hallmarks of this record which is far beneath the talents of the two artists who recorded it. – R.X.

3. Trace Adkins – AlaFreakinBama

A tuneless shoutfest that would vie for the title of Worst Record of Trace Adkins’ career were it not for ‘Honky-tonk Badonkadonk’. – R.X.

Trace Adkins has a great voice but apparently no musical taste, judging by the number of truly crappy songs he has picked in his time. This manages to achieve something I previously thought unachievable: it’s actually worse than ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk’. Almost tuneless in the verse, the chorus degenerates into a one-note yelling of the title, backed up by crowd noise. – O.H.

2. Carrie Underwood – Undo It

If Underwood were ably revisiting the sound Shania Twain pioneered in the 90s, I’d be one of the first to jump on board. But if the production sounds like an old mix tape from that era recorded over the FM airwaves, I’ll probably fall off the wagon. A chorus that falls apart with the first line doesn’t help to win me back either. – J.R.

Sheer unadulterated 80s pop melody, processed sounding and much too loud production, with absolutely no subtlety or light and shade in the delivery and an ultra-annoying chorus. I can see why her fans would like it, but personally I wish I could unhear it. – O.H.

1. Justin Moore – Backwoods

I can live with the clichéd lyrics (which could be worse), but not the almost complete lack of melody, loudly over-produced backing and yelled singing. The interjected laugh is also irritating. – O.H.

In just over two and half excruciatingly long minutes, Moore manages to cram every cringe-worthy hillbilly cliché’ into a melodically clunky hit song. If country music all sounded like this, it would have stayed in those woods. – J.R.

 

Album Review: Sara Evans – ‘Real Fine Place’

Here’s another guest contribution from our long-time friend, and frequent collaborator Michael Allan.

Released shortly after the title cut became her fourth #1 hit, Sara Evans’ Real Fine Place debuted atop the Billboard Country Albums Chart (and at #3 on the all-genre Billboard 200) in October of 2005. It is her most recent studio effort and contains four Top 40 singles, including her last Top Ten hit to date.

The album opens with its third single, ‘Coalmine’, which, due to some unfortunate timing, peaked at #37. (It was released right around the same time as the Sago coal mine disaster in West Virginia.) It’s a shame more people weren’t able to hear the song because, thanks to its fiddles and sly lyrics, it paints a better portrait of small town life and serves as a better ode to hard working, blue collar men than anything on country radio in 2009. No offense, Justin Moore, Billy Currington, Jason Aldean, Jason Michael Carroll, et al.

The album’s second track and lead single is the title cut. Written by Radney Foster, it serves as a strong example of pop country done right. The song’s bouncy vibe makes you want to turn up the volume, put down the top and go for a cruise – sing along with the breeze in your hair and then… press repeat.

Second single and third track is the deliciously scathing ‘Cheatin’. It’s a humorous ( without venturing into novelty territory) lesson that living well is the best revenge… even better than taking a baseball bat to a cheating boyfriend’s car headlights. This fun song would have been right at home on a country radio playlist in the early 90s.

‘New Hometown’, a plea to the protagonist’s lover to give up the city life for something a little more rural, ironically doesn’t sound very country at all. However, Evans voice is in fine form and her tone is clear.

‘You’ll Always Be My Baby’ was the final single and peaked at #13 on the charts.  It is one of my least favorite songs on the album. The three arc story song is so predictable, uninspired and generic that it sounds like it was assembled in a factory somewhere in Nashville. Despite having served as a co-writer on this song, Evans deserves better material than this.

Read more of this post

Week ending 10/3/09: #1 singles this week in country music history

sheppard_tg1949: Slippin’ Around — Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely (Capitol)

1959: The Three Bells — The Browns (RCA)

1969: Tall Dark Stranger — Buck Owens (Capitol)

1979: Last Cheater’s Waltz — T.G. Sheppard (Warner Bros./Curb)

1989: Let Me Tell You About Love — The Judds (RCA/Curb)

1999: Something Like That — Tim McGraw (Curb)

2009: Small Town USA — Justin Moore (Valory)