Tag Archives: Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Clint Black Starter Kit

clint_black1Clint Black burst onto the country music landscape with the famed Class of ’89, as one of the group’s leading members. With his neo-traditionalist sound, he caught people off guard with his uncanny channeling of his hero, Merle Haggard.

As time passed, we would quickly learn that Black was his own man as he earned two triple Platinum albums, four Platinum albums and one gold album. Moreover, he would soon establish his own sound, which the country music audience was more than willing to accept.

Ten Essential Tracks

“A Better Man”
From the 1989 album Killin’ Time

It is impossible not to include Clint Black’s first single in his Starter Kit. Not only is it a great song from a seminal album, it sprung to the top of the charts and introduced people to a voice that eerily resembled that of Merle Haggard’s.

“Killin’ Time”
From the 1989 album Killin’ Time

Black was known for his clever wordplay, which showed up in “Killin’ Time” with “This Killin’ time is Killin’ me.”

“Put Yourself in My Shoes”
From the 1990 album Put Yourself in My Shoes

This bluesy song pleads for understanding and forgiveness in a failed relationship. He boldly proclaims: “Put yourself in my shoes/Walk a mile for me/I’ll put myself in your shoes/Maybe then we’d see/That if you put yourself in my shoes/You’d have some sympathy/And if I could only put myself in your shoes/I’d walk right back to me.”

“Burn One Down”
From the 1992 album The Hard Way

This is just a cleverly written song all around. It demonstrates Black’s intriguing poetic ability.

“A Bad Goodbye” (with Wynonna Judd)
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

As Clint seems to do very well on his duets, he leans into this emotional song with full force. Of course, Wynonna Judd is always a force to be reckoned with, but both of them aptly capture the complicated emotion of loving someone but no longer being in love.

“No Time to Kill”
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

In this dobro and fiddle laden tune, Clint revisits the theme of killing time. This time, he determines that there’s no time to kill.

“State of Mind”
From the 1993 album No Time to Kill

Clint’s harmonica chops are displayed on this catchy song, especially on the album version. The song is built around the simple, yet factual, observation: “Ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory/Take you to another place in time/Completely change your state of mind?”

“Untanglin’ My Mind”
From the 1994 album One Emotion

Can you imagine a song like this being played on today’s country radio? What’s more, can you imagine a Merle Haggard co-write reaching the top five on today’s country charts? Apparently, both were possible in the mid nineties. Those were the days, weren’t they?

“Still Holding On” (with Martina McBride)
From the 1997 album Nothin’ But the Taillights

Clint Black isn’t immune from veering away from the neo-traditional sound, especially toward the latter half of his career. This is a straight pop country ballad done well, particularly thanks to killer vocal performances by both Black and Martina McBride.

“Something that We Do”
From the 1997 album Nothin’ But the Taillights

Clint extols the simple truth that love is a verb: “It’s not just something that we have; it’s something that we do.” At the time of this song’s release, I was pretty bored by its simple melody. It wasn’t until my adulthood that I truly understood the sentiment.

Two Hidden Treasures

“Our Kind of Love”
From the 1997 album Nothin’ but the Taillights

Clint has a version of this gorgeous song with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, but this rootsy version featuring Alison Krauss is superior.

“Hand in the Fire”
From the 1999 album D’Lectrified

This whole album is a gem that was somewhat overlooked, though it still reached gold status. As the album title cleverly indicates, this is his version of an unplugged project. He reworks some of his old hits and adds some originals as well. This is one of the standout originals, which is a fun, matter-of-fact, declaration of love.

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Chely Wright Six Pack

Chely WrightIt seemed like Chely Wright was on the cusp of stardom for her entire career, releasing several albums in the nineties that garnered enough interest to keep her signed but not quite enough to make her an established star. She finally scored a big hit when “Single White Female” went #1, and the album of the same name would eventually be certified gold.

But she wasn’t able to maintain the momentum with her follow-up project, and that #1 hit remained her only trip to the top ten. In recent years, she released an outstanding EP called Everything and a full-length album called The Metropolitan Hotel which was one of her most consistent efforts.

“The Love That We Lost”
from the 1996 album Right in the Middle Of It

Her biggest pre-MCA hit was remarkably intriguing, especially on the first listen when you’re trying to figure out what she’s looking all over the house for.

“Shut Up and Drive”
from the 1997 album Let Me In

One of the best records to hit the radio in 1997.

“I Already Do”
from the 1997 album Let Me In

Perhaps it was too quiet a declaration of love for country radio, but it’s a beautiful performance.

“Single White Female”
from the 1999 album Single White Female

Her biggest hit also made a name for its co-writer Carolyn Dawn Johnson, who’d go on to have a hit album of her own.

“Jezebel”
from the 2001 album Never Love You Enough

She has a lot of quirky songs in her catalog. If you like this one, make sure you check out “Alligator Purse.”

“Back of the Bottom Drawer”
from the 2004 EP Everything

A clear-eyed look back at good and bad decisions that shape who you become in the end.

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Filed under Back to the Nineties, Six Pack