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Colt Ford

Thanks for Listening – 2014 (Average Joe's)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Colt Ford

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups notwithstanding, two great tastes don't always taste great together. Take, for instance, country music and rap. Hick hop, if you will. Even the name sounds like an affliction of the diaphragm. Wikipedia says this sub genre really took shape with Bubba Sparxxx in 2001, but those of us with longer memories know artists have been trying to wed these antithetical styles since the Bellamy Brothers "Country Rap" in 1987. Back then, it was known as c-rap, a much more accurate moniker. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now. The closest it came was probably Cowboy Troy with Big and Rich, and that might have been because they used rap like Chinese chefs use meat, as a seasoning not as the main course.

Why doesn't it work? Several reasons. Self-aggrandizement is anathema to country artists. For you whippersnappers out there who don't remember and haven't done your homework, the original outlaw movement died when Waylon and Willie would not stop singing songs about Waylon and Willie. Rap music is mostly self-aggrandizement. The stylistic trappings make anything else difficult. Can you name one great rap love song - love for someone other than self, that is? Colt Ford mentions the name "Colt Ford" on several of the songs on this album.

Rappers like to rap about riding in Bentleys and drinking Cristal, so when Colt and friends rap about riding in muddy trucks and drinking beer from the quick stop, it doesn't sound down homey, it sounds low rent. No, it sounds parodic.

Also country music has traditionally been music that tells a story. It's hard to tell even the simplest story when every fifth word has to rhyme.

Mister Ford is, at least, generous at sharing the microphone with artists both great - Keith Urban on "She's Like" - and questionable - Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson on "Cut 'Em All," although it does say something that a man who makes duck calls and stars on one of the unrealest reality shows raps at least as well as Colt. Speaking of "She's Like" (and about self aggrandizement) comparing a woman to "a free round of drinks in my favorite bar, new set of strings on my old guitar, and the pedal to the metal in my muscle car" doesn't say anything about the woman. It does however say a lot about Colt Ford. And he says the same things about himself on just about every other song on the CD too.

While his efforts to inject some civility into rap music are appreciated, a thank you for listening may not be sufficient. He may need to bribe music lovers. Or at least ply them with Cristal.