David Adam Byrnes has a great sound. Will Nashville take notice?
Yesterday was officially the first day of summer, but try coming down to Texas and telling folks that.
It was also a big day in country music with the release of albums by Corey Smith and Justin Moore.
As my views have evolved on country music, I've shared with you my opinion that the genre should be all-encompassing, and there should be a room at the table for everyone from traditionalists to southern rockers to those that straddle the edge of other genres.
Smith was an independent artist in Georgia, and Tuesday marked his mainstream debut (Average Joe's). In the past, he had some differences with the country music establishment ("If That's Country"), in which he criticizes Kenny Chesney for not being "real country."
Smith still maintains his independent streak, although he did change some lyrics and eliminate a verse in "If I Could Do It Again," but he at least looks favorably enough upon the establishment to give Music City a try.
The Georgia native is a talented singer-songwriter who has an outside-the-box way of looking at things, and "I Love Everyone" is one of the most introspective songs in country music - and probably all genres.
And Moore's sophomore disc - like his debut - is good for what it is. Straight-up twang to listen to while you're floating the Guadalupe River. Or if fishing is your thing. Yes, the Arkansas native does try to play up the "I'm countrier than you will ever be" angle, but he manages to get away with it because he is so country.
He goes to a well that many country artists have been to before, and will go to again. There is clearly a demographic for that type of music.
Smith, like former Georgia independents the Zac Brown Band, will bring new fans into country music.
Moore won't, and he probably knows it. But he needs to add more depth to his music beyond his "countryness". Not because it's a bad sound. Because in 2-3 years, there will be another new, young artist that will have the same schtick. Maybe, this artist will be more country than Moore. They'll talk about how they grew up on a horse ranch and didn't use a telephone until they were 19.
The independent artist that could get lost in the shuffle (but I hope doesn't) in all the Smith-Moore hoopla is an artist that I think falls somewhere comfortably between the two.
Meet David Adam Byrnes
Yes, Byrnes has a heavy dose of twang, and like his fellow Arkansan, he talks about his country roots, "Down Homegrown," but it seems more "cutesy" than "defensive".
But Byrnes has depth that Moore could only dream of. That's extremely evident on "She Only Wanted Flowers," a ballad about heartbreak.
The guy has a little bit of a Tracy Lawrence sound to him, but he's vocally distinctive.
When I first saw his album cover for "Premium Country", I thought Byrnes resembled John C. Reilly, but I was fortunate enough to meet him during CMA Festival in Nashville and I didn't really see the resemblance.
Who cares if you can bait a hook or not? Here's a song almost everyone can relate to: "The Jukebox, The Bottle and Me," by Byrnes.
Let's hope "Premium Country" can pick up some momentum among country music fans.