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James Bonamy

What I Live To Do – 1996 (Epic)

Reviewed by Dan Kuchar

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CDs by James Bonamy

There's an awful lot to like about James Bonamy's debut album. Bonamy's vocal style - somewhere between Garth Brooks and Jeff Carson - displays power and flair well beyond this Florida lad's tender age of 23. The playing is solid throughout and down right vicious in spots (like the blazing guitar work on "Dog On A Tool Box"). However, except for bright spots like funky gospel-flavored "The Devil Goes Fishin'" and the tender "I Don't Think I Will," the songs are no match for his vocal talent. Most songs are lyrically awkward, don't rhyme well or are conceptually weak. While this release is correct in content and conformation for Hot New Country radio, there is virtually nothing anywhere within these tracks to distinguish Bonamy from the rest of the field. One hopes Bonamy gets another chance to do what he lives to do - with songs that are equal to his considerable abilities.