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Chuck Mead

Journeyman's Wager – 2009 (Thirty Tigers)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Chuck Mead

Chuck Mead's first solo album, a Ray Kennedy production, is a testament to the power of co-writing, not to mention pub rocking honky tonk. Mead, who grabbed a deal with a Nashville songwriting publisher after BR549 took a hiatus a few years back, joined pens on all but one song here, a yodel-riffic cover of The Beatles' Old Brown Shoe.

The "co's" include Nashville wild man Trent Summar, who partnered with Mead for the nicely detailed story-song Up on Edge Hill, and longtime buddy Mark Collie, who joined him for two highlights, A Long Time Ago and In a Song. Noted producer and musician Jon Tiven co-wrote three songs, probably Journeyman's Wager's catchiest tunes, She Got the Ring (I Got The Finger), After the Last Witness is Gone and No Requests (also co-authored by Sally Tiven). With help from Superman, Caesar, Moses and Jesus, Mead achieves working man, Nick Lowe-and-NRBQ, fish-and-chips-and-poolballs-and-Pabst perfection on I Wish It Was Friday.

Supported by excellent players and in fine voice throughout, the BR549 frontman delivers an excellent effort all on his own - with a little help.