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Billy Yates

Anywhere but Nashville – 2004 (M.O.D.)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Billy Yates

The album title smells of controversy, coming from a singer-songwriter who did his time on a major label without much success, then fled to start his own label. And indeed, the lyric starts out sounding like a scathing criticism of the Nashville music industry, but in the second verse, turns out to be more a testament to Nashville as a haven for artists who can't make it in L.A., la Alan Jackson's "Gone Country."

The album is be filled with 15 other Yates-written traditional country songs that display keen insight into everyday trials and joys, with a healthy dose of fun mixed in. "American Voices" offers vignettes of the American dream, while "The Best Thing in the World" and "My Infinite Love" (a George Strait hit) are sweet love songs. "Alcohol Abuse" and "I'm Just Drinkin'" are fun drinking songs.

To support this album, Yates is primarily touring in Europe, where he has found a strong appetite for traditional country music. 15 years ago, Nashville opened its arms to Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black. It's a shame that today a great talent like Yates has to go anywhere but Nashville to find success.