Mike Sudhalter | September 25, 2007
So, does a singing cowboy sell in modern times. Of course, there was Roy Rogers and Gene Autry - cowboy actors, not the real thing - who achieved success in country music.
But then the late, great Chris LeDoux won rodeo championships and entertained crowds with his high-energy brand of country music. Earlier in his career, his songs were more about tales of the rodeo trail.
I recently learned that PBR bull rider Justin McBride is trying his hand at country music.
And you know what, this poke might have a chance. He has the name recognition, something many aspiring artists don't. And immediate marketing appeal.
The first song I listened to, "Don't Let Go", sounded like forgettable country pop, but "Tumbleweed Town" sounded like a modern day cowboy tale. And McBride has what I call "farm cred", the country version of "street cred".
McBride also sings "Beer Drinkin' Songs", sure to be a hit if he ever released it as a single. Is he doing this as a hobby or seriously?
I hope he takes it seriously because he's pretty good, but hopefully Nashville won't mess up his flow like it did with some of LeDoux's Capitol Records.
Speaking of artists corrupted by Nashville - Kevin Fowler. His new album was released Tuesday on the Equity Music Group label. That's the label owned by Clint Black, one of the most overrated country singers of our generation. Can you believe this guy was actually compared to Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt early in his career? He's easily the least memorable of the Class of '89. His first album was amazing, but it's been downhill since and many of his songs don't sound remotely country.
As for Fowler, there's still a lot of Texas sound on there, but you can tell by the snippets on the album, that there's more Nashville on this record than he'd probably like to acknowledge.