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Travis Tritt

The Storm – 2007 (Category 5)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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In an attempt to once again crack the Top 20, which he hasn't seen since 2002, Travis Tritt is trying to reinvent himself as a soulful country singer a la Tony Joe White and T. Graham Brown. He's even hired American Idol judge Randy Jackson to produce

So what did they think was a good choice for first single release? A cover of "You Never take Me Dancing" by the King of Soul himself Richard Marx - Yep, Richard "Right Here Waiting" Marx. This track has Tritt unable to figure out what the woman in his life wants even though she's spelling it out for him. He thinks it has more to do with Oprah than the orchestra. "I've watched enough daytime TV / To know my baby's needs." Puh-leez! Truth to tell, Tritt has always had a soulful undertone to his voice, but it probably works better as an undertone. The gospelly back-up vocals and ill-advised attempt at scatting - or whatever it is that's supposed to be happening on "Mudcat Moan" - obscure, rather than accentuate the soul of the music.

This album works best when Tritt plays to his strengths. Despite his outlaw reputation, Tritt's most successful songs have always been snapshots of stages in a relationship, and despite the misstep of the title track, this album is no exception. If he had put these songs in a different order this could be a concept album. He chronicles the determination to woo and win the woman he wants in "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway" In "I Don't Know How I Got By" he's won her and they're on their honeymoon. Things get a little rough in "What if Love Hangs On" and they contemplate ending it on "Doesn't the Good Outweigh the Bad." He attempts to recapture the romance and fun on the title track and "High Time For Getting Down" but inevitably he wakes up alone with a message in lipstick on the mirror on "Should've Listened." Which is what happens when you try to figure women out by watching soap operas and chat shows.