Welcome to today's country that at least has a little bit of the heritage of the genre wrapped in the music.
Bob Russell cooks up straight country, with an ear toward fitting into radio nicely these days.
The disk starts off with Down A Road You've Never Been, then follows up with Cowgirl Love, both songs that could fit into drive time country radio.
Ditto for track three with Hard To Be An Outlaw.
Now Russell doesn't exactly forge anything new here. He uses tried and true formulas. Hard To Be An Outlaw is upbeat. It's a song about being a loner, and doing what you know is right. Not groundbreaking material, but darn it's a fun song that is toe tapping, with catchy hooks to sing along with.
Russell does know how to slow it down too. Too Damn Young is a love song that has a nice pace, and again, could catch country radio interest.
This is a guy that can play today's country, yet keep it with some semblance of older country, at least in terms of song selection. He has selected these songs from a range of writers, but they all fit his easy, clear vocal style.
Now I can't exactly rate this CD higher because it is so geared toward meeting radio, and uses formula-style style songs from start to finish.
Yet, you know what? Russell makes it all work far better than most country CDs that pass around these days.
It doesn't hurt that Bart McKay is around as producer either.
It could be the clear vocals. It could be the song selection which is just a bunch of good-time country songs that are fun to listen too.
Either way, if you like today's country, you will love this CD. Check it out.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 8, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada