Comparisons between Brad Cotter and Buddy Jewell are inevitable because both were winners of the Nashville Star competition. However, while Cotter matched Jewell in the contest category, he does not reach the heights that Jewell did with his excellent debut last year.
Cotter's main problem is that he isn't very distinguished in the same way that Jewell's deep voice hits you over the head with a lot of timbre and emotion. Cotter sings well enough, but one wonders if any number of folks could have turned in just as good a job.
The Alabama native acquits himself far better on the uptempo, guitar heavy numbers ("High on Love," "Rock and Roll in the Hay," "Blue Collar Night") than the few slower numbers that start the 10-song effort (the single "I Meant To," which is a bit too smooth, though the more powerful "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" packs far more of a punch). While Jewell's album possessed a great deal of soul, Cotter's smacks of trying to get everything just right from the vocals to the instrumentation ("I Miss Me"), thought he shows grit on the title track.
Winning Nashville Star is certainly a great career kick start, but, unlike Jewell, Cotter failed to use his debut to take it to the next level.