(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )
The hype is that after years of going multi-platinum for his major label, McGraw’s finally gotten permission to record with his road band instead of the usual Nashville studio pros. Thing is, one only gets to play in McGraw’s road band in the first place by being able to recreate that Nashville studio-pro sound, note for note, night after night, indoor sports arena after indoor sports arena. Meanwhile, the son of a pitcher man continues to harvest what he perceives to be the cream of the Nashville-songwriter crop. I like the way pre-marital sex and abortion are a big deal in “Red Ragtop” and chuckle sympathetically to the almost Nugent-worthy “Who Are They” (in which the “politically correct” who say “don’t pray in school but have safe sex” probably live in L.A. and might not have souls). I slap high-fives with the line from “I Know How to Love You Well” that goes “I may not be the best of singers / There’s better guys I’ve heard.” And I savor this liner thanks from drummer Billy Mason: “The Osmond Family, Barry Manilow your talents have inspired me to work hard.” Rating: Two-and-a-half gopher balls out of five.
(More McGraw: http://arsenioorteza.blogspot.com/2010/07/tim-mcgraw-faith-hill-concert-preview.html and http://arsenioorteza.blogspot.com/2010/07/tim-mcgraw-faith-hill-live-review-2000.html)