Jon Wolfe is a straightforward country singer who has built a strong following in the Texas music scene. His likable twang and traditional Red Dirt sound set him apart from the modern country coming from Nashville today, but he his music is more accessible than much of the grittier side of the Texas scene as heard from artists like Hayes Carll. He manages to find a comfortable balance between honoring his roots and adding a modern accessibility to his songs.
"Natural Man" is a 13-song collection of country music from an artist with a strong voice. At times, Wolfe is reminiscent of George Strait and comparisons to the King of Country Music are never a bad thing. Lead single, "What Are You Doing Right Now?" blends a Strait twang with a radio friendly sheen that instantly sticks in your head.
Wolfe gets contemplative on "Singin' Thing," a somber song about making the choice between pursuing a music career and settling down in a normal life, ultimately deciding that it's worth the sacrifices in his eyes. When he revs things up, like on the title track, his honky tonk sound allows the guitars and pedal steel to run free. There is plenty of steel throughout though, adding depth to Wolfe's country sound and highlighting the lack of hip hop beats and EDM blasts.
There seems to be a growing buzz in the Texas music scene, led by artists like Aaron Watson. Wolfe is cut from the same cloth, singing pure country with a traditional edge and just enough polish to be radio friendly. "Natural Man" is his most realized album to date and a great introduction for fans looking for some new traditional country.