The first thing you'll probably wonder when you set eyes on Colt Ford and learn he's a country-rap "artist" is whether the whole thing's a gag. He looks like the abandoned son of Boss Hogg and Hank Jr. But listen to the record, and read the liner notes: he really means it. Once a golf pro known as Jason Brown, this large-framed hick-hopper wants you to know exactly where he stands on topics like Skirts and Boots
and copious shout-outs to saying grace and drinking moonshine. It would be easy to write all this off as an unwise grafting of traditions that, with apologies to Kid Rock, aren't naturally compatible. Except Ford pleads his case by bringing in country talent to sing the hooks and give the doubters the bona fides.
Twisted, featuring Tim McGraw, is a standout, pondering the temptations of the city and the country mouse. Here the looping beat and Ford's rhymes gel - that isn't always the case. And while rap may require rhyming and a beat, those two things alone don't equate to the talent of "flow." In What I Call Home, forced phrasing about Ford's travels lands him flat-footed. But there's a hilarious track (Titty's Beer F) dedicated to his grandpa's quest to name a beer after an upper part of the female anatomy. Songs such as that have a small element of risk, and are lost in the parade of one track after another that celebrates the southern tribe (Country Thang, This is Our Song, Every Chance I Get).
This album cries out for a track like guest star Charlie Daniels' 1973 shaggy dog story hit Uneasy Rider. With more clever wordplay and humor taken from a slice of southern life (instead of the whole pie), fans wouldn't ever question Ford's image or motivations.