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Shane Stockton

Stories I Could Tell – 1998 (Decca)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Shane Stockton

Shane Stockton has the good luck to be on a label that has tended to let its artists combine traditional country sounds and contemporary cuts with a shot mainstream radio airplay; unfortunately the Texan hasn't taken full advantage of that on his debut.

Still, Stockton has a strong voice and a good producer in Mark Wright (Mark Chesnutt), so all is not lost. If he can find stronger material or develop his songwriting skills, there's plenty of reason to think he can find an audience. Both the strengths and weaknesses can be heard in the opener, "Somewhere In The Ashes," which starts off on a promising note but fails to deliver a knockout with its story.

Stockton wrote all of the material mostly by himself. He would have been better off seeking more co-writers or more outside material; though there are a couple of strong entries here (notably the swinging "I Didn't Know Love Felt This Way"). Too many solid melodies and arrangements are betrayed by awkward, uninspired lyrics. While he gets big points for daring to skip the drums on the album's final cut, a gospel number called "Billy Saw The Light," the song itself is unmemorable, and the big ballads like "What If I'm Right" sound like knockoffs of mostly forgettable radio fare.