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Aaron Tippin

What This Country Needs – 1998 (Lyric Street)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Aaron Tippin

At first glance, you would be forgiven for assuming the title track of Aaron Tippin's new album is another patriotic number in the tradition of past hit, "Stand For Something." Listen for a minute, and the chorus settles the question with the refrain, "What this country needs is a little more steel guitar." It is a call to arms, alright, but the war is on bland country music.

Tippin has always had a song or two that hit the right chords with listeners, without building a superstar level career. This album has the potential hits to change that. In addition to the title cut, there's the first single, "For You I Will," about as unequivocal a love song as you'll ever hear. "You're The Only Reason For Me," is the sleeper here, buried at the end of the disc. It is almost a religious song in lyrical content and Tippin's delivery, and could be taken as such, or it could just be another well written love song.

The only drawback is the disc is weighted almost too heavily with love songs, but at least Tippin chose some great ones. Add the driving rock of "I Didn't Come This Far (Just To Walk Away)" and the self-effacing "Back When I Knew Everything," and you've got a career-making statement from Tippin on the current state of country music and his rightful place in it.