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Charley Pride

Choices – 2011 (Music City)

Reviewed by Rick Bell

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CDs by Charley Pride

Wistfully pining about the vanishing symbols of Americana and longing for simpler times is a staple of country music past and present. After a career in country spanning half a century, Charley Pride has created plenty of memories for others. He could rightfully sing of his childhood in Mississippi, or of 45 rpm vinyl singles (more than 35 were stamped with Pride's number 1 hits), or of drive-ins or mom-and-pop grocery stores or any number of disappearing American icons. But instead Pride not once but twice recalls a one-time staple of American life - the hometown newspaper.

Tough to make a song about obits and high school sports, but Pride pulls it off. Both Guntersville Gazette (co-written by ex-Lonestar frontman Richie McDonald) and Hickory Hollow Times & County News are fine country songs and a reminder that a smartphone isn't the only way to keep up on a town's happenings.

Yet the odes to the fourth estate are just 2 of his memories on this 13-song disc. Pride's rumbling baritone comfortably shuffles through I Miss My Home and America the Great, which blend with pure country cuts like The Choices She Made and Maybe Love Will Save the Day.