Written by Nathan Chapman, Charles Kelley, and Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker still seems more committed to keeping the country elements present in his country music than all of his contemporaries that didn’t crossover from the nineties rocks scene. But that commitment is slipping a bit.
“I Remember You”
Written by Kelly Archer, Ben Carver, and Brad Rempel
After the anthemic “Prize Fighter”, Trisha Yearwood softens things with the emotional “I Remember You.” With just an acoustic guitar and simple strings, “I Remember You” is a gorgeous tribute to the memories of someone who has passed from this life to the next.
“Make Me Wanna”
Written by Bart Butler, Larry McCoy, and Thomas Rhett
“Make Me Wanna” is what country music might have sounded like in the nineties if the new traditionalist movement never happened.
“On to Something Good”
Written by Barry Dean, Luke Laird and Ashley Monroe
Happily, Ashley Monroe has announced a new album that will, once again, be produced by Vince Gill with the help of Justin Niebank. The lead single from the album is “On to Something Good.” Sadly, the single only makes me very cautiously optimistic instead of very optimistic.
A Thousand Horses
Written by Ross Copperman, Michael Hobby, and Jon Nite
Your tolerance for this song will be completely dependent on your tolerance for a woman being compared to nicotine addiction.
“One Hell of an Amen”
Written by Brian Davis, Mike Dekle, and Brantley Gilbert
I actually feel kind of bad for Brantley Gilbert. His heart is totally in the right place. But the execution is absolutely horrendous.
Attempting to tackle two different tragedies in one song – a fallen soldier and death by cancer – and fails to stumble upon any truth in either individual situation, let alone a compelling connection between the two.
“Gonna Wanna Tonight”
Written by Shane McAnally, Jon Nite, and Jimmy Robbins
Here’s what I don’t understand.
Let’s put all of the clichés to the side for a minute. Going out, drinking, fishing dock, pretty red lips, yada yada yada. They’re all here, as uninteresting as ever.
“I Got the Boy”
Written by Connie Harrington, Tim Nichols, and Jamie Lynn Spears
The sentiment is quite poignant. “I got the boy. She got the man.” A high school sweetheart reminisces as she sees her boyfriend from back then has gotten married.
The writers establish some wonderful specifics in the verses that help to bring the characters to life. But the chorus is bland both lyrically and melodically, so the payoff from the buildup isn’t there.
“Second Hand Heart”
Written by Dwight Yoakam
Easily his strongest single since “The Back of Your Hand”, Dwight Yoakam is at his best on his new release, “Second Hand Heart.”
Returning to the weathered heartache territory that he does better than anyone else, “Second Hand Heart” captivates from its opening line: “She said, ‘When I trusted love, I dreamed in color, too.'” Eight words out of her mouth and she’s a fully realized character, the mirror image of Yoakam’s protagonist, who recognizes a kindred spirit underneath all of that weariness on the surface.
“I See You”
Written by Luke Bryan, Ashley Gorley, and Luke Laird
This is the sound of an artist that’s struggling against the confines of the niche he’s been assigned, but not being willing to give up enough of the trappings to completely break free.