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Chuck Wicks

Rough – 2013 (Liz Rose Music)

Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh

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CDs by Chuck Wicks

There's a possibility that the name Chuck Wicks doesn't quite ring a bell with you, but he's the guy behind Stealing Cinderella, his debut hit single from 2009. Since then, Wicks has had mid-level success, seeing further singles make respectable gains, but nothing like that first big hit. Now, Wicks is back with "Rough," a five-song EP that showcases some great songwriting and solid delivery and just may be what gets Wicks back in the game.

Wicks manages to include a little bit of everything here, bringing some accessible pop tones to bear on Fix Me, a soulful slow-builder that gets things started off strong. The love of a good woman takes the lyrical spotlight on Whole Damn Thing, finding Wicks channel some Brad Paisley-esque points with an easy, breezy delivery.

Saturday Afternoon keeps the low-key tones rolling with some smooth rhythm guitar riffs and a lazy summer feel to the track while Always finds Wicks bringing keyboards to the forefront and giving his great vocals a chance to shine which they do. Finally, Wicks leans yet once again into the summertime feel with the radio-ready Salt Life, capturing a great day on the water in a sonic bottle.

Wicks is a great vocalist and a strong songwriter, managing to conjure solid hooks and singable licks time and again. Yet, he's up against a ton of competition in the country music world. And that competition may be what slows the success of "Rough" for, despite it's great sound, much of it comes across as somewhat derivative, lacking it's own something extra. So, while "Rough" is a good effort, it doesn't quite make it to great.