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Brandon Rhyder

Every Night – 2008 (Reserve)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Brandon Rhyder

Brandon Rhyder's fifth album finds the Texas-born singer-songwriter at his tender expressive best. Working with producer/co-writer Radney Foster, he has fashioned a 12-song (plus 1 ghost track) set of moving ballads and catchy blue collar hook songs.

Shades of country rock and old school twang provide sonic grit to the musician's road warrior ballad Old Red Door and the moody lost love paean She Couldn't Lie Anymore. In the modern country lexicon, belated father appreciation has replaced old-time mother ballads, and Finger to the Bone proves a moving piece of self-revelation.

Yet, Rhyder is truly at his best when the sounds are more intimate and acoustic. Whether he is romantic (Every Night), reflective (When You Wake Up) or remorseful (What I Do), Rhyder communicates with sensual command and pleading vibrancy. Moreover, the artist closes with his two best pure country moments, the simple yet intense working man's theme, A Cowboy's Work and the charming ghost track written for his newborn daughter Pea-pie.

Crisply produced and subtly arranged, Every Night is occasionally formulaic. However, this deftly written set is sung with genuine old school conviction. That alone makes this stylish, moving disc worth hearing.