CAROLYN DAWN JOHNSON, “Taking Back My Brave”
This is much better than her last single. Lyrically strong, with a good vocal performance. The production kinda just lays there, though. Could’ve used more muscle.
DARRYL WORLEY, “Just Came Back (From a War)”
He’s looking for a place to lay the blame and either isn’t sure who deserves it or chooses not to say. The confusion, anger, and resentment of a soldier after coming home from a foreign war, coupled with a relief to be back to normalcy. The lack of focus makes it seem more sincere and human, rather than less.
GEORGE STRAIT, “It Just Comes Natural”
Damn, I want to add an “ly” to that title. Aside from that, not a bad song, from the last album he’ll ever record before knowing he was a Hall of Famer. In fact, he should sing it this fall when he is inducted; it works as well as a statement of his talents as it does as a love song.
KELLIE PICKLER, “Red High Heels”
Sounds like a Mindy McCready outtake, circa 1998.
THE WRECKERS, “My Oh My”
They should’ve saved the harmonies for the chorus. Singing together through the whole song robs it of charm and identity. It also got the very similar Wilkinsons single “Boy Oh Boy” stuck in my head again for the first time in years, and for that, I have little gratitude.
TRACE ADKINS, “Ladies Love Country Boys”
City girl falls for country boy. That’s never been done before. From the redneck fantasy land where girls with bright futures ditch higher education for the hillbilly in the pickup truck.