Release Date: Oct 20, 2009
Record label: Curb
American music has countless regional ? loyalties, from New Orleans jazzbos to the rappers who claim their coastal alliances almost compulsively, like beatboxing one-man chambers of commerce. But for pure prideful swagger, it’s pretty tough to beat the South, y’all. The honky-tonking title single on Southern Voice, country superstar Tim McGraw’s latest, name-checks nearly every famous figure born below the Mason-Dixon line, be it Rosa Parks or Will (not William!) Faulkner: ”Tom Petty rocked it/Dr.
Based on title alone, it would seem that Southern Voice picks up on the harder country edges of Let It Go, but that's not the case: this is Tim McGraw's rockiest album yet, opening with a slow, spacy crawl called "Still" that would not be out of place on a record by a U2 knockoff and often revisiting that territory, taking the occasional detour to Nickelback territory on the Chad Kroeger co-written "It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You. " That tune bristles with Kroeger's barely veiled, unwitting hostility, something that the big-hearted McGraw doesn't wear well -- not in the least, because it sounds like a boneheaded swipe at his jetsetting wife Faith Hill -- and it's something he wisely side-steps on the rest of the record, choosing to mine a sentimental, meditative vein, musing on major changes in his life and wondering what will happen after he's gone. Such big themes fit both the big, atmospheric rock sounds and the reflective acoustic ballads well, creating an inward vibe that is occasionally punctuated by a hackneyed rocker, like the laundry list of great Southern names on the title track, or the mess of clichés on "It's Only Jesus," changes of pace meant to goose along the record but instead wind up as speed bumps on a mellow trip.
MICHAEL BUBLé"Crazy Love" (143/Reprise) Michael Bublé is a master at juggling musical attitudes, and his new CD, “Crazy Love,” whose title comes from the Van Morrison song, is his most confident balancing act yet. Mr. Bublé respects the Sinatra tradition but doesn’t try to slavishly copy anyone. Appreciative of the past but not reverential, he juxtaposes pre-rock, rock and soul classics without favoring one style over another.