My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Tim Massey

Retro Album Reviews: Joe Nichols – ‘Real Things’, and Tracy Lawrence – ‘For The Love’

for the loveBack in the days writing for the 9513 Blog, I would post occasional reviews on Amazon. We are republishing updated versions of some of those reviews here.

REAL THINGS – JOE NICHOLS (2007)

Other than Brad Paisley, I cannot think of another of the current Nashville acts that has as good a grasp on what is or isn’t country music than Joe Nichols. This album simply is a delight from start to finish.

The opening track “Real Things” sets a nice placemat for the current single “Another Side of You” (currently a top 25 and rising). For this album Nichols has tapped the cream of Nashville’s songwriting community for good songs. Only one old song was selected for the album and that is the late Blaze Foley’s classic “If I Could Only Fly” performed here as a duet with Lee Ann Womack and with the legendary John Hughey on steel guitar (Paul Franklin plays steel on the remaining tracks where steel is used). All of the material is top-flight and my only fear was that it may prove “too country” for today’s wimpy country radio.

The copy of the CD I purchased has a 14th track on it, a wry song titled “When I’m Hurtin'” in which a country singer apologizes to the audience that the only time he really sings well is you know when. This song is easily a 5 star effort and should have been released as a single.

Grade: A

FOR THE LOVE – TRACY LAWRENCE (2007)

Among the younger singers, Tracy Lawrence has the best pure country voice this side of John Anderson and Randy Travis. Like previous efforts, this CD has two or three cuts that are merely okay, and the rest are terrific. My favorite songs is “Til I Was a Daddy Too” , as meaningful a song as you will ever encounter. “You Can’t Hide Redneck” is a fun romp and “Rock and A Soft Place is another highlight. Such is the vocal prowess of Tracy Lawrence that his solo cut of “Find out Who Your Friends Are” is considerably better than the cut on which he is joined by Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, both lesser vocal talents. I love this disc, an early nominee for CD of The Year honors.

Grade: A+

Album Review: Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice – ‘Heartaches And Dreams’

Virginia’s Junior Sisk and his band Rambler’s Choice have just released what I understand is their second album together, on respected bluegrass label Rebel. This is pretty much straight bluegrass, with exemplary picking from a five piece band with three-part harmonies. Frontman and guitarist Junior Sisk sings lead on most of the tracks, with his cousin and bass player Tim Massey usually singing tenor, and mandolin player Jason Tomlin on baritone harmonies. Fiddle player Billy Hawks adds another harmony voice on just one song, and banjoist Darrell Wilkerson restricts himself to his instrument.

The material consists mostly of broadly similar mid to up tempo songs, and this brings up the principal flaw of the record as far as I’m concerned; too often, particularly with the uptempo material, the sad songs simply don’t sound sad and lonesome. Maybe I’m just not enough of a bluegrass purist, but I want more than virtuoso playing.

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