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Monty Holmes

All I Ever Wanted – 1998 (Bang II)

Reviewed by Brad San Martin

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CDs by Monty Holmes

Monty Holmes has been part of mainstream country music for years.. As a songwriter, he has penned hits for George Strait ("When Did You Stop Loving Me") and Lee Ann Womack ("Never Again"), among others. Why success as a performer has eluded him up until this point is unclear. He has a strong voice (husky and deep), heaps of charisma and a charming, Travolta-esque mug.

Taken piece by piece, Holmes' tunes can be quite tasty. Each song here is well-crafted, well-played and spit-shined to a slick luster. His lyrics are blunt and honest without being too personal for mass-consumption. He does indulge in the odd bit of silly hyperbole and novelty numbers, but mostly he sticks to more serious concerns. The desperate, invigorating rocker "Why'd You Start Looking So Good" is the lead-off single, and deservedly so.

As an album, however, this set of songs gets old fast. The sound is pretty homogenous, and attempts to spice it up (like the Cajun dressing on "Jolie") sound superficial. Every now and then, though, an interesting arrangement perks the ears. The ballad-to-boot-scoot tempo changes in "Basic Goodbye" are a gas, but such moments are too few.