Jerrod Niemann

Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury – 2010 (Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Jerrod Niemann

The spoken intro promises "one man, one band on a journey of epic proportions." Jerrod Niemann puts a lot of pressure on himself to deliver, and while not reaching those lofty standards, the Kansas native acquits himself when he sticks to the music. Niemann has achieved success as a songwriter, penning Good Ride Cowboy for Garth Brooks. But Niemann also suffered from being on Category 5 Records, a label that folded amidst turmoil before releasing his debut.

Niemann, who mines the Chesney/Brooks school of country, hit it big with the second single Lover, Lover, which reached the top with a soulful, slower vocal reading. He scores on the opening, bluesy They Should Have Named You Cocaine and the mid tempo Old School New Again (mid-tempo pretty much rules). The uptempo How Can I Be So Thirsty finds Niemann channeling Dierks Bentley vocally, a good thing, while One More Drinkin' Song goes honky tonk. Niemann falls short on the way too cute The Buckin' Song from Robert Earl Keen. While Down in Mexico sounds straight out of Chesney catalogue, do we really need another Chesney sound-alike?

Where this disc grows extremely annoying is on the spoken parts, such as Phone Call at 3 A.M. - not particularly funny. He follows a similar idea seven times, and none of them add anything. Some are very low-ball humor (Intermission). Just why he thought they were funny is a head scratcher. If he wanted to make a comedy disc, he should have stuck with that, although that would not have been funny either based on this.

Niemann probably named this disc correctly. The pluses and minuses cancel each other out to render a split verdict.