Kevin Montgomery has a comforting, warm roots folk-meets-country approach to his singer-songwriter craft. "Tennessee Girl" is a perfect example as it saunters along at a lovely leisurely pace similar to Canadian Charlie Major. The fact that Trisha Yearwood lends a hand on backing vocals is just icing on the cake. But Montgomery is equally adept at creating rich haunting tales of longing and small town narratives, as he does on the nugget "Cherokee City," that falls in line with Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen. The meshing of these faster poppy tracks and slower ballads is perfect on the simple but gorgeous "Red-Blooded American Boy." It is a song that is anything but jingoistic and falls just outside the realm of a countrified version of the Rembrandts. "I Can't Drive You From My Mind" is perhaps a tad too soft but is beefed up by Lee Ann Womack on backing vocals. The first true highlight is the happy-go-lucky "Melrose" which seems to capture the essence of Blue Rodeo and the Gin Blossoms all at once. "Isn't it true/These are the best times we've had," he sings with the confidence of a singer with a great song to perform, resembling Neil Finn on certain notes. Finn's timbre circa Try Whistling This definitely comes to the fore on the light and stellar "Bella Bina," as the hint of Mexico and the Mavericks is just off in the distance. Just as strong, albeit geared towards radio format, is the mellow and melancholic "She Don't Wake Me Up." Montgomery rarely falters as another strong slice of Americana-cum-Steve Earle roots is heard on "Way Back When." Perhaps his biggest challenge on this album is his ambitious and worthwhile attempt in covering "No Surrender" by Bruce Springsteen. Adapting it into a slower, lengthy ballad with sparse instrumentation is to Montgomery's advantage and he does an admirable job on the number. The finale is a near perfect bit of work as Chad Cromwell's drum brushes allows it to become the slow, dirge-like waltz it should be. Montgomery's lineage is known, and he has done nothing but add to that with this pensive, soothing and wonderful series of songs.
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil