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Rushlow

Right Now – 2003 (Lyric Street)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Rushlow

It seems a little ironic that in this post-CMA rush for traditionalism that Rushlow should be having such chart success with its debut single, "I Can't be Your Friend." Well, there's a bit of history between country fans and the band's front man. Along with Brady Seals, Tim Rushlow used to lead the '90s pop country band Little Texas, so he has a pretty good feel for what it takes to make radio-friendly, ballad-heavy country music.

Here, Rushlow fronts a group of Shania Twain lookalike band-boy musicians who pick just fine, but unfortunately are tamely kept in place. Outside of a screaming guitar riff here or a pulsing keyboard solo there, these guys offer little depth, and the harmonies are far from riveting.

In fact, virtually every 1 of the 10 cuts is bathed in wave after wave of an almost Phil Spector-like wall of sound thanks to producer Christy DiNapoli, who has guided Rushlow through a career that included one solo album on Scream Records.

Rushlow isn't much of a songwriter either. "God Only Knows" is about as catchy as a bad cold, and his collaboration with the Warren Brothers on "Texas Is My Kind of Town" is just a little too clich+d. Finally, we find Rushlow crooning in an engaging, intimate voice on "Speechless." It almost makes the rest of the album worth hearing. Unlike fellow country band Rascal Flatts - which has a snappy, poppy, Marcus Hummon-like vibe - Rushlow is just an updated version of Little Texas, minus Brady Seals. Russell Smith