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John Rich

Son Of A Preacher Man – 2009 (Warner)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by John Rich

John Rich managed to find time to make an album of his own music after producing others, writing songs, hosting "Gone Country" and maybe thinking about Big & Rich. He starts off strongly out of the box with his single Shuttin Detroit Down, his ultra-timely condemnation of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. It's catchy and gets his message across with a lot of twang.

However, Rich is never one to go gingerly in his starting his views - a failure of The Good Lord and the Man, where he offers the typically trite condemnation of those who disagree with U.S. policy, equating that to knocking America's soldiers. We'd be speaking German and living under the Japanese flag now if not for the greatest generation, according to the sweeping generalization of Rich.

He redeems himself with the presumably autobiographical title track, where he sounds like Billy Ray Cyrus, and offers the tug between the spiritual and the fast lifestyle. Other songs push the generic button (the egotistical Everybody Wants To Be Me and the Lonestar ready Another You) with some good licks perhaps, but nothing particularly distinctive or the silly (Turn a Country Boy On with none of the humor of say Trace Adkins). Rich ends on a very dismal note with Drive Myself to Drink, which he co-wrote with James Otto and frequent co-writer here Vicky McGehee. Rich opts for the lounge singer effect, and the affect is a real dud. Raul Malo may easily pull it off, but Rich sounds like a Holiday Inn lounge singer. If only Rich could have been as topical and musically on target as his single.