Black Music Matters Festival

Collin Raye

Twenty Years and Change – 2005 (Aspirion)

Reviewed by David McPherson

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CDs by Collin Raye

With 15 number 1 singles under his belt, it would be easy for country tenor Collin Raye to rest on this past success and settle into musical mediocrity. Raye's first disc in more than four years - confirms that the man with the silky smooth voice isn't content to rest. The new record even finds the master lyric interpreter penning a couple of songs - the title track, and "All I Can Do Is Love," co-written with Melissa Manchester.Kickin' it off with a high-steppin' country anthem, in the vein of young guns such as Keith Urban, Raye offers the optimistic and affirming love song: "I Know That's Right." From this energetic opener, the barn doors are wide open, and Raye lets the good times roll by romping through 11 more songs of love, hope and happiness. Key cuts include "The Search is Over" a gospel-flavored ballad of redemption and "Josephine" - a story song, written by Rory Feek that tells the tale of an anxious Civil War soldier writing a letter home. Raye even takes a Don Henley rock 'n' roll number and masterfully reworks it as a honky-tonk classic ("You're Not Drinkin' Enough").