Since Dusty Drake has the physique of a body-builder and a neatly trimmed goatee, is seen riding a motorcycle on the back cover of his debut, and sounds a bit like the blustery Toby Keith, it could be easy for some listeners to pass him by, thinking that he's just a trick of macho marketing. That's unfair, because his eponymous debut is a refreshing surprise -- a record that navigates the arena rock pomp of contemporary country with a dose of traditional country instrumentation and songwriting smarts. He can succumb to silliness on occasion, such as on the rah-rah radio song "Radio" or any time that he lets the testosterone take over, but his muscular baritone helps sell these songs. Better still, he balances straight-ahead, anthemic modern country songs with some nicely gonzo touches, such as slipping an oversized Van Halen-styled guitar into a rocking country tune. Best of all, he is a strong writer, as evidenced most of all by "Too Wet to Plow," "Not Bad for a Good Ole Boy," "Smaller Pieces," and "Ain't Nobody's Business." A taste for sentiment and silliness may keep this from being continually engaging, but at its best, Dusty Drake is tuneful, rocking, memorable modern country, beating Toby Keith at his own game.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine