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James Bonamy

Roots and Wings – 1997 (Epic)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by James Bonamy

The title song has a touching message, and "The Swing" saw some chart time, but something about the album just doesn't click. A cut that will never make the radio - but should - is "Daddy Never Had A Chance In Hell." Here's a story about drinking and a true woman and eventual salvation, in other words, a country song. That's the problem, too many wings and not enough roots - country roots, that is. Everyone wants to create a new country sound, and somewhere the "country" has been lost.Bonamy finds it part of the time, but most of this sounds like a pop singer trying to do country. Someone needs to tell the new legion of producers and money people in Nashville that it takes more than a steel guitar to make a country song. "Little Blue Dot" offers some interesting sounds, if you can ever figure out the message and "When God Dreams" is a pretty song with a misleading title, but they can't rescue the album.

Perhaps it's the lack of an edge in his too-sweet voice, or the cadence of the lyrics, but you wouldn't have heard this one on Ernest Tubb's CD player. If you like syrup with your country then go looking for it; if you hum a little Paycheck during a bad day at work, forget it.