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Trea Landon

Dirt Road Dancin' – 2020 (Warner Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Trea Landon

Thematically, Trea Landon's major-label debut EP checks off many of country music's basic requirements. There are songs about partying, heartache, front porches, screen doors and Chevy trucks. Sonically, there is some traditional instrumentation. The twangy Telecaster is prominent on the title track, giving it a "Fishing In The Dark" feel. An ethereal pedal steel surfaces periodically along with ample banjo and a surprising 12-string acoustic appearance on the homey "What Feelin' Good Feels Like." The formula is a double-edged sword. Though clearly a contemporary effort, the lyrics are hokey at times. It's as if Landon, who co-wrote four of the songs, is trying to sell the listener on his country credibility. For example,

"Laid back In my old boots/show hands on the clock move" and

"Aunt Bee, Andy and Opie in black and white/ That's what feelin' good feels like"

Scott Hendricks's production vacillates between organic and glossy. A girl goes home with the wrong man on "Wrong Truck." It is wonderfully minimalist with a dainty piano intro that feels like a one take. It would be equally at home at a jazz club or soft rock station. By contrast, "Loved By A Country Boy" is so slick it feels like it's aiming for chart position

None of the five songs are gritty. The 20 minutes is an unabashed feel-good upbeat romp.