Music Charts Magazine Country Music Album Reviews
George Strait just celebrated his 61st birthday last week, but it is his fans who got the present. George released his 40th studio album, Love is Everything on May 14. Fans will not find any surprises in this new album. All 13 songs give us George’s laid back, easy going, southern sound that we have found in his music since his first album back in 1981.
Like most of today’s country artists, George writes some of the music he sings. On this album, he wrote or co-wrote four of the 13 songs. The album starts off with “I Got A Car.” The song makes a point, without a lot of fanfare. It talks about what a simple introduction might lead. You see a pretty girl, walk over, and introduce yourself starting with the sentence ‘I got a car’. Listen to the song and you’ll find out exactly where that opening line might take you.
The second song is George’s current single, “Give It All We Got Tonight.” It’s simply George doing what George does best. It can’t be classified anything but a love song.
“Blue Melodies” could have been sung by Merle Haggard or George Jones, or anyone from our ‘older era of country music.’ But George Strait has his own way of making the song fit right in with the rest of today’s country music.
George originally recorded the fourth song back in 1995, and it was part of his Strait Out of the Box album. “I Just Can’t Go On Dyin’ Like This,” is more proof that George Strait can take a song that is nearly 20 years old, and make fans fall in love with it all over again.
” I Thought I Heard My Heart Sing” is a song you can expect to hear in a dance club in the southwest. I don’t think this one will ever be released as a radio single. And, I’m not so sure it would do well on the radio if he did release it. But, I am sure there will be a lot of Texans kicking up their heels to this great dance tune.
I found my ‘sing-a-long’ song with “That’s What Breaking Hearts Do.” There’s always one song on every album I review that I want to listen to more than once. And, that I find myself singing along with. ‘That’s what breaking hearts do, They cause you so much pain, Make you go insane, That’s what breaking hearts do’. Easy to remember lyrics added to a catchy melody definitely equals a sing-a-long with me song.
“When Love Comes Around Again” is just what you would expect. It’s a song about looking at an old love in a new way. Getting someone back, giving it another try.
I’ve already said that “I Thought I Heard My Heart Sing” is more of a dance tune than a ‘ready-for-radio’ song’. But, I did find one that I think George would do well to release to radio as his next single. The song is “the Night Is Young,” It’s uptempo, with almost a 1960’s rock and roll beat. He’s singing about a Friday night, a place to go, and big plans for what will be a fun-filled weekend. One of my favorites on the album.
“Sittin’ On the Fence” would probably also work as a single. The music is good, the message is simple – when you’re coming out of a bad relationship, you may have trouble getting into a new relationship – even if it has the makings of being a great one. He follows that one with “I Believe.” I’m sure all of his fans remember, “I Saw God Today,” and in this song – like that one – George doesn’t mind telling us that when he’s at a low point in his life there is someone watching over him.
The title track, “Love Is Everything,” would make you think of George Strait, even if someone else were singing it. The song is his style, his music, and the great harmony is an added bonus.
George is currently hoping for his 60th No. 1 single. I think he is the only artist about which I can truly say ‘He’s never done a song I don’t like.” However, I wasn’t really thrilled with the 11th song on the album. It’s called “You Don’t Know What You’re Missing.” I’m not really sure why it’s not one of my favorites, I just know it never will be. It’s a good song. It sounds a lot like something George would do. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it sounds a little too much like everything else George does. While it isn’t one of my favorites, and I don’t think it’s a bad song, I don’t expect him to eve release this one to radio,
That brings us to “When the Credits Roll.” It’s a little look back at what George has done over the past 40 years. It’s full of mistakes, choices, and wondering … what will the critics think about all this “When the Credits Roll.” I don’t know how it would do as a single. But it is definitely a well-written song that deserves to be heard.
George is currently on his final tour, The Cowboy Ride Again Tour, which will run through 2014. To check show dates, visit www.georgestrait.com. For the latest country music news, be sure to log on to www.countryschatter.com, and follow us on Twitter @countryschatter.
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It’s no secret in the country music world, that Jerrod Niemann has found himself a lot of fans. His music can be a bit whimsical or even a bit nutty at times, and some is about as far from traditional country as you can get, but that didn’t stop him from putting a string of hits out on country radio. “Lover Lover,” “What Do You Want,” and “One More Drinking Song,” were all singles from Jerrod’s album, Judge Jerrod and the Hung Jury.
The Judge has now given us another CD, full of songs that are sure to please his ever-growing fan base. My personal favorite, “Shinin’ On Me,’ was his first single from the new album. It got into the Top 20, and I was really surprised that it didn’t climb a lot higher. That one is definitely a ‘feel good song.’ Every time I listen to this CD, I find myself going back to that song to listen to it again.
“Whiskey Kinda Way” and “I’ll Have to Kill the Pain” both have a traditional country sound, and give fans an opportunity to listen to the slower side of Jerrod. I could see either one of those songs released to country radio, and am really wondering why that hasn’t happened by now.
The second song from this album that Jerrod released to radio, was “Only God Could Love You More.” Jerrod co-wrote that one with Lee Brice and Jon Stone. It’s another slow one that gives Jerrod a great chance to show off his vocals.
“Honky Tonk Fever” puts me more in mind of what you might hear in a jazz club, or even a 1920s speakeasy. It’s really not country, but it really is good. It’s a fun song. The kind of song that makes you smile, but you really aren’t sure why. Jerrod wrote this one without any help from any of the great writers who co-wrote many of the other songs on this album.
Jerrod wrote or co-wrote every song on this album. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Jerrod’s name in the ‘written by’ line on upcoming albums by some of country music’s best known entertainers. In addition to writing the music on this album, Jerrod also co-produced the CD.
Here is the track list, with authors: Free the Music, Jerrod Niemann; Whiskey Kind of Way, Jerrod Niemann, Randy Boudreaux; Get On Up, Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Jesse Clingan; I’ll Have to Kill the Pain, Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy, Arlos Smith; Only God Can Love You More, Jerrod Niemann, Jon Stone, Lee Brice; Shinin’ on Me, Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lee Brice, Lance Miller; Honky Tonk Fever, Jerrod Niemann; Guessing Games, Jerrod Niemann, J.R. McCoy; It Won’t Matter Anymore, Jerrod Niemann, Rob Hatch, Lance Miller; I’m All About You (featuring Colbie Caillat), Jerrod Niemann, Richie Brown; Real Women Drink Beer, Jerrod Niemann, Houston Phillips; and Fraction of a Man, Jerrod Niemann.
“This album is my interpretation of how I feel about country right now,” Jerrod said. “It’s a project honoring many different layers and colors that have appeared in the country genre since recorded music began.” Jerrod also explained that the pedal steel guitar wasn’t always in the country music picture, even though it has since come to define the genre.
When Jerrod was first starting, he did one tour of U.S. radio stations that brought him to Bristol’s Steel Creek Park, where he put on a free show of a crowd of fans that showed up to enjoy his music, and meet the artist. As so many artists do when they first get a song out on country radio, Jerrod was eager to spend a little time with his fans, signing autographs, posing for pictures, sharing his music, and pretty much giving everyone a chance to get to know who he is and what he does.
To keep up with what’s going on in Jerrod’s world, including upcoming shows, new videos, and new music, visit his web site www.JerrodNiemannOfficial.com, and follow him on Twitter @jrodfromoz (that’s Jerrod from Oz, he’s from Kansas). This will tell you just a bit about Jerrod’s sense of humor, too. In addition to following him on twitter, you can follow his bus. And the bus will answer your tweets, too. Just go to Twitter, and follow JerrodsBus.
(Music Charts Magazine Country Album Reviews are brought to you by CountrysChatter.com and MusicChartsMagazine.com)
Album = Time To Get Right
Every day it becomes more and more apparent that country music just isn’t what it used to be. Some people refer to these changes as part of the ‘new wave of country music.’ I don’t care what they call it, I will never be able to even consider some of the newer sounds to be country.
Jessta James hails from North Dakota. The sound he is bringing to country music isn’t really new. And, while I believe it is his gimmick, or way of being noticed. It is no longer original. It has been done by Cowboy Troy, Colt Ford, Nappy Roots, The Lacs – and even country music superstars such as Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. The sound I am talking about is rap music. They call it country/rap. I don’t believe you change the fact that it is rap music by putting the word country in front of it.
His bio tells us that his earliest musical influences were Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash. Somehow, I find that very hard to believe. If those were his musical influences, I would really like to ask him why the music he is putting out music that sounds more like he was influenced by MC Hammer, Eminem, and Snoop Dog.
The first song I listened to from Jessta was titled “If That Ain’t Country.” I don’t mind telling him, but that definitely ‘ain’t country’. Rap music is rap music. Country music is country music. That is the way it is, and that is the way it will always be.
Jessta’s debut album will be released on May 21. It’s called “Time To Get Right.” Given the path country music is taking these days, I am sure that Jessta will find himself with a lot of devoted fans, and a lot of people will be out there buying his album. I, however, will not be one of them. He is a good looking kid, with what seems to be a good singing voice. The biggest problem I have with him is that he isn’t using that voice to sing.
The second Jessta song I heard was called “Cowgirl Boots”. This one still had far too much rap for me, but there were parts where you actually do get to hear him sing. So now that we can tell he actually does know how to sing, I guess the question that remains is, why doesn’t he? The rap is obviously what has been opening doors for him, but I keep wondering why something that has been done before is still being accepted as new or original. It is not new or original, and above all, it is not country music.
I listened to “Ride On,” hoping that maybe I would find some real music somewhere in Jessta’s repertoire’. I didn’t. Still rap music. And, while I am sure there are a lot of people out there who will not agree with me, I just can’t understand how rap music is finding a place on country radio.
The only pleasant surprise I found was “Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel.” I don’t know who he is singing with on that song, but he needs to keep her. It is really a great duet. And, it is all singing. No rapping. Great vocals by both Jessta and his female duet partner. It is a good song, a good story, and was the only bright spot in my listening experience. This is probably the only Jessta James song I will remember, and is certainly the only one that I will listen to again.
Anyone interested in checking Jessta out, can listen to the songs I mentioned, along with “Better Man” and “Back in the Day,” by visiting his web site, http://www.jesstajames.com/, and clicking on the word ‘music’ at the top. His songs are available for purchase at iTunes and Amazon.
I’m not sure how many people think the way I do. I am a fan of traditional country music. I always will be. However, for those of you who enjoy everything that is coming out of Nashville today – there is your introduction to Jessta James.
Author = Country