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Steve Wariner

Burnin' the Roadhouse Down – 1998 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Steve Wariner

Steve Wariner has had a lower performing profile recently while writing hits for others (Clint Black's "Nothing But The Taillights" and his hit with Anita Cochran). Wariner is back, however, and burning up the charts already with the single, "Holes In The Floor Of Heaven," a predictably sappy ballad that hits the same emotional chords with listeners as last year's "Butterfly Kisses."

Those recent years concentrating on songwriting collaborations have paid off for Wariner with some quality work here. "A Six Pack Ago," despite the apparent stereotype involved, is a well-constructed gem, co-written with Jim Rushing, that Wariner delivers like a recalcitrant George Jones after an all-nighter. Other highlights include "I Don't Know How To Fix It," written with Bill Anderson, and "Love Me Like You Love Me," where Wariner gets to showcase both his heartfelt vocals and some sweet guitar licks.

There are some great country songs here, but the honkytonk numbers are surrounded by too many slicker radio-ready tracks to make this a consistently great album.