Backtrack: Steel Magnolia, “Keep On Lovin’ You”


Review originally published at the late, great The 9513 in September 2009. The couple has since split up and parted ways creatively, but its female half - Meghan Linsey - is included in the batch of new, undiscovered (cough) talent competing on the current season of NBC's The Voice. Never mind that Linsey was previously Taylor Swift's labelmate and Blake Shelton's opening act. As past Nashville Star and American Idol contestants can attest, winning a television singing competition isn't the … [Read more...]

Backtrack: Richie McDonald, “How Do I Just Stop”

McDonald, incarcerated for this song.

Originally published at The 9513 in November 2008, back when I was still young and spunky. McDonald has since rejoined Lonestar. Songwriters: Tommy Lee James and Richie McDonald. In an election year full of tough questions and partisan bickering, former Lonestar-frontman-gone-Christian-crooner Richie McDonald offers some much-needed common ground. "How Do I Just Stop" is so gloriously simple and unequivocally lackluster that people of every political persuasion should rejoice in the … [Read more...]

Backtrack: Billy Ray Cyrus and Friends, “Some Gave All”

billy ray cyrus

Review originally published at The 9513 in November 2010. Although this track seemed in the early stages of being released as a single at the time, it is not now classified as one - whether because that was never the intention or because it garnered so little interest that it was quickly withdrawn, I don't know. Anyway, thought this might be a fitting repost for Memorial Day. Songwriters: Billy Ray Cyrus and Cindy Cyrus No, you didn't just fall through a crack in the space-time … [Read more...]

Backtrack: Larry Cordle, “Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink”

larry cordle

This review was originally published at The 9513 in February 2011. Songwriters: Larry Cordle and Amanda Martin As a cut on Trace Adkins' well-received X in 2008, "Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink" sounded like a brawny, neotraditional album highlight. In the hands of songwriter Larry Cordle, it sounds like a certifiable country-bluegrass classic - the rare modern composition that would have been right at home on an album by George Jones or the Louvin Brothers half a century ago. In a word, it … [Read more...]

Backtrack: Bradley Gaskin, “Mr. Bartender”

Bradley Gaskin

Originally published at The 9513 in March 2011. Gaskin's only release to date is the digital Bradley Gaskin EP featuring this and three other songs. He was dropped by his label in 2012. Here's the backstory as I imagine it. Sensing radio's inborn prejudice against gray hair, Travis Tritt hires some kid from Alabama to be the face of his new music in a homegrown Milli Vanilli-style stunt. The details of this arrangement aren't revealed until several months (or years!) later, by which time … [Read more...]

Backtrack: The Dirt Drifters, “Something Better”


Originally published at The 9513 in March 2011, this single review celebrated the mainstream arrival of an exciting new band called The Dirt Drifters. Unfortunately, the quintet unceremoniously split just over a year later. Their major label album This Is My Blood is still available and worthwhile. Is there still room on country radio for a great bar band? The radio gods briefly smiled on a ragtag Georgia gang called Confederate Railroad in the early '90s, but the leather-and-denim … [Read more...]

A Six Pack to Go (10/03/08 Edition)

Cowgirls Don't Cry – Brooks & Dunn Maybe the speaker in Toby Keith's “She Never Cried in Front of Me” wasn't so obtuse after all. Maybe he was just in a relationship with the main character of this song, a woman raised to hide her emotions at every turn. Even when she realizes that her husband's carousing is tearing apart their home, she doesn't bother confronting him about it: She didn't let him see it break her heart / She didn't let him see her fall apart. As though being … [Read more...]