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Ricky Van Shelton

Fried Green Tomatoes – 2000 (Audium)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Ricky Van Shelton

The star of Ricky Van Shelton - with 10 Number 1's to his credit - isn't what it once was having left the big labels for the smaller indies. What remains is the strong voice of Van Shelton and a high quality album.

The voice comes through on the ballads, like "I Was Losing You" where you have the sense of loss is easily conveyed as something real.

The pedal-steel infused "Foolish Pride" where he shows his command amidst good backing vocals from Liana Manis. The Virginian alternates between ballads and uptempo (non-pop) country quite easily with "Your One and Only" and its many musical twists and turns indicative of the quality here "I Think I Like It Here" revs it up a bit in the Toby Keith vein, but to Van Shelton's credit, he isn't afraid to use country instrumentation. There's a very healthy dose of fiddle from Larry Franklin throughout.

Not everything works as well. The lead off, "Call Me Crazy," is a catchy country rocker, but is nothing out of the ordinary. "The Decision," about whether to keep a baby after a mistake, is far too breezy sounding. This is not vastly different from Van Shelton's extensive body of work. Good thing. He serves up a good dish of country.