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Deryl Dodd

Deryl Dodd – 1998 (Columbia)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Deryl Dodd

This sophomore effort finds Dodd building on the stronger parts of his 1996 debut. The album kicks off with a couple of hard country numbers, the Clay Blaker-Jim Lauderdale shuffle "It's Only 'Cause You're Lonely" and a slow honkytonk weeper he co-wrote, "Best I Ever Had." On the latter (and elsewhere on the album), he sounds a bit like Vince Gill in his phrasing, which isn't at all a bad thing.

After that strong start, the rest slips a bit, though the first single, "A Bitter End," is a good contemporary ballad and the closer, "Somewhere Down The Road" offers a strong up-tempo take on a classic theme. Dodd continues to develop as a songwriter; he has a fondness for clever turns of phrase that don't always work, but when they do, as on "30-30," it makes a good impression - good enough that one wishes for another Dodd-penned number to replace the album's low point, a silly "John Roland Wood." The music leans heavily on steel guitar and fiddle, even when, as on "On Any Given Day," it drifts toward the pop side of country.

This isn't a breakthrough album, but there's a lot to enjoy on it.