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Anthony Smith

If That Ain't Country – 2002 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Anthony Smith

Anthony Smith is not just another Nashville matinee idol, blandly singing generic happy-thought songs. Instead, he writes and sings songs with an expressively blues-y voice, voicing lyrics that incorporate plenty of humor and real heart. And if that ain't country, what is? All too often, contemporary country artists choose songs the same way Hollywood actors and actresses select star vehicle roles. If a song increases an artists' public image and doesn't offend anybody, then it's probably a smart choice.

Smith, on the other hand, wants listeners to remember the songs, and the people in them, most of all. This is why "John J. Blanchard" is such an intriguing character. Through this song, Smith speculates about what might be going through this coma victim's mind. And on a more humorous note, "Venus" avoids the whole men from Mars, women from Venus argument altogether. If women are from Venus, says the man in this song, well at least he knows where to go and find 'em. So damn the gender differences. Now, ain't that country?