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Mark Nesler

I'm Just That Way – 1998 (Asylum)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Mark Nesler

Asylum's new management is giving this album the big push. There's no doubt Mark Nesler is a talented guy (he's written some big hits and some great songs for Tim McGraw, Tracy Byrd and others), and there are some real successes on here. But taken as a whole, this is a frustrating release, with its high points offset by some real problems.

Nesler is at his best when he hews to a country sound, as on the Marty Robbins-inflected opener, "Doing What's Right," but for most of the album, he's working in a melancholy country-rock/r&b vein reminiscent of the solo albums of Russell Smith (Amazing Rhythm Aces) - and it just doesn't come together. Strong moments, like the way the melody rises into the chorus of "Used To The Pain," never seem to deliver a knockout punch. This could be one of those cases where the producers are at fault, but who knows for sure?