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Stephen Chadwick

Let's Do This Thing – 2014 (Stag)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Stephen Chadwick

Houston-based Stephen Chadwick's latest is a throwback to the late '80s and early '90s mainstream country with mixed results. Chadwick is at his best on ballads, including the pair of self-penned tracks "She Just Might Be a Love Song," which could have been a hit for George Strait or Vince Gill, and the closing track "Waiting On You," which features modern references ("It's been so long since you/Called my cell phone" and "I keep checking my messages/Hoping for a little text") amidst the vintage sounds.

One of the stronger tracks is the Adam Hood composition "What Goodbye Does," with Sunny Sweeney contributing nicely on harmony vocals, detailing the devastation of a failed relationship ("It hurts, it's mean/It takes all the good out of everything"). Other highlights are the amusing "I'll Drink to That" in which a repentant drunk enumerates the events it would take ("When Elvis steps back on the stage/And there ain't no IRS to pay") to make him fall off the wagon, and Trent Summar's effective up-tempo title track (featuring Bobby Flores on fiddle), reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam's "Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc."

Produced by multi-instrumentalist Tommy Detamore (pedal steel, lap steel, Dobro, organ, various guitars), the instrumentation is for the most part solid, though some tracks such as "Skip That Stone" and "Messing Around" suffer from overproduction with Chadwick's vocals buried in a muddled mix. Despite the occasional misstep, Chadwick's pleasant vocals make this a mostly entertaining effort.