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Blake Shelton

The Dreamer – 2003 (Warner)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Blake Shelton

An ambitious album title like "The Dreamer" conjures up images of poetic lyrics and ethereal musical textures. But Blake Shelton is closer to the ordinary daydreaming variety, because this - his second album - is filled with blue-collar country music that illustrates his dreams using understandably down home and plainspoken vernacular.

Shelton presents himself here as an "Asphalt Cowboy" who dreams of a heaven where he can sing like Elvis and play guitar like B.B. King - instead of appearing as anything particularly mystical. The single "The Baby" has brought Shelton a lot of press and radio air-play of late, but such a weepy balled is an exception to this album's otherwise upbeat musical rule. Best of all is "Playboys Of The Southwestern World," which is a song driven by humorous storytelling and a nice little lyrical nod to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl." Not far behind it is "My Neck Of The Woods," however, due to its slide guitar-fueled Southern rock that brings out a Travis Tritt-ish side in Shelton. Blake Shelton's music creates a musical place where simple dreams sometimes come true.