Mike Sudhalter | September 28, 2007
If you listened to all the pre-album hype of Reba McEntire's duets album, you'd think it would be overwhelmingly pop country. After all, McEntire has been more sitcom mom than rodeo queen in recent years.
I received the album Thursday - my first Reba album in 11 years of being a country fan, strangely enough - and had time to listen to just two songs thus far.
It may never hit radio, but "Does The Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma?", the duet with Ronnie Dunn, may be the most country thing McEntire has done since the mid 1980's. On an album that includes Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson and Rascal Flatts, it's good to know there's one good country song.
The theme of the song is so close to "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma", except in this song, the male and female transplanted Californians are singing home to their parents on the prairie.
Hopefully, McEntire will make more efforts to sing the country music that got her where she is.
Apparently, the Austin Chronicle agreed with my assertion that Kevin Fowler, once a true representative of Lone Star act, has been bogged down by Nashville's influence.
Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, which released a new album on Tuesday, told the Associated Press: "I think the tide is turning a little bit in country music, and I'm proud to say we're part of paving the way for artists to do something a little more, to be a little edgier and do something outside the box.'
It would be fine if they were trying something new or edgy, but it's just recycled, schmaltzy pop. If you want to look for 'outside of the box' stuff that's still country, look no further than the Texas/Red Dirt scene.