Led by the rich-toned lead vocals of Brad Mates, the Canadian-bred band's first two albums on Dreamworks received tons of high-powered accolades from the country music community -- including Billboard's Top Country Artist of the Year and Group of the Year for two consecutive years from the Canadian Country Music Association. The sounds were crisp, slick, and fit perfectly into the era's pop-country vibe, but Richard Marx's solid production was a mixed blessing; some felt he made Emerson Drive "too" pop to be legit country artists. That problem is solved on this incredibly infectious, not-a-bad-cut-in-sight collection, not only with a title indicating Emerson Drive's true identity as country artists, but with production by famed genre songwriters and producers Keith Follese and Brad Allen -- who also happen to helm the band's new U.S. label, Midas Records Nashville. There's still a rock/pop edge, reflected by the popular, family values-driven first single "A Good Man" and "You Still Own Me." But the richer country elements shine through on the fiddle passages (performed brilliantly by David Pichette) of the raucous, honky tonkin' "Testify" and barnburning "Sweet Natural Girl." Heartfelt, gently twangy ballads like "Moments" and "A Boy Becomes a Man" beautifully balance the feisty tunes. The disc's true masterpiece is saved for the end, when the boys put a crafty rock/soul energy into the classic "Devil Went Down to Georgia," adding to Pichette's fiddle genius with a touch of Latin spice and a few witty, well-placed bars of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" by guitarist Danick Dupelle.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran