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Mark Wills

Mark Wills – 1996 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mark Wills

The Georgian's debut starts off promisingly enough with "High Low and In Between," a fiddle-driven, mid-tempo song about a man under the spell of his woman.

But there's precious little else to recommend among the dozen cuts, all about love. Wills recalls David Lee Murphy vocally, but sings a bit too effortlessly throughout, never sounding all that convincing as if he's lived the songs (He wrote none of them).

And backed by such session heavyweights as Brent Mason, Paul Franklin et al, the listener gets the same impression - competent, but never rising above. Like the many musicians covering the same turf, Wills doesn't distinguish himself from the pack. About the only thing that did separate himself was his hit, "Jacob's Ladder," another breezy song about cross-class love, nothing you haven't heard before. If you missed the subject matter the first time around, Wills closes the CD with the similarly-themed "Look Where She Is Today."

This is mainly an album of in-betweens, not too many highs, not too many lows and ultimately not very satisfying.