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Billy Dean

Let Them Be Little – 2005 (Curb)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Billy Dean

A hit maker from the '90s, Billy Dean tries to establish himself as country music's Mr. Family Man with an album reflecting his newfound artistic maturity.Dean co-wrote the title track hit with Lonestar's Richie McDonald, a ballad about appreciating your kids' early years and adds his talents on acoustic guitar to that and two other.

Attempts at tugging listeners' hearts are evident on "Slow Motion" and "I'm In Love With You." And what would Dean's new fatherhood album be without a songwith references to Little League in "Swinging For the Fence"?

The bluegrass-tinged ballad "Eyes" and Dean's contemporary remake of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" were impressive, but Dean flops on the forgettable "This is the Life" and "Race You to the Bottom," a sarcastic look at life in the fast lane. Old fans will be pleased that "Somewhere in My Broken Heart" and "Billy the Kid" were included as bonus tracks. But a country comeback? Dean should have checked into adult contemporary first.