To say that Danny Gokey has crafted a country album on his debut more than strains credulity. It would be flat-out wrong. Oh yes, there are a few small - very small - attempts to insert a few guitar licks here and there that pass for today's country, including on the optimistic, forward looking opening track My Best Days Are Ahead of Me and later on Life on Ya.
But there is no mistaking this for country. Gokey, a finalist on American Idol season eight, sings well enough (he was on AI after all), but it is blue-eyed soul, not country. That is the case time and again on the 10 songs, none of which Gokey helped write.
There's a hopeful, positive feel to many of the song themes, perhaps particularly relevant since Gokey lost his wife, Sophie, in 2008, at 27 during surgery for a heart condition. The closing track, I Will Not Say Goodbye by Lari White, Chuck Cannon and Vicky McGehee, seems to be the most emphatic statement about her death. It's no surprise about the spiritual focus of many of the songs since Gokey was a church choir leader in Milwaukee. On I Still Believe, Gokey sings," Well, I guess I could give up/'Cause there are days I wanna run away/From everything/But what good would that do for me."
Competently delivered, by-the-numbers and devoid of any sense of excitement. Not to mention country.