Lucky Ones is Pat Green's third album for a major label, but it's the first one where he truly seems comfortable gunning for the big time. He enlists producer Don Gehman, who produced a few songs on his previous album, 2003's Wave on Wave, for the entire record, and Gehman not only gives Lucky Ones a bright roots rock feel similar to the albums he produced for John Mellencamp, he also enlists drummer Kenny Aronoff and violinist Lisa Germano, both Mellencamp vets, for a few tracks. These two, along with a few other session musicians, mix seamlessly with Green's seven-piece backing band, giving the album a consistent sound -- and that sound is big and shiny, part contemporary country, part heartland rock, all polished and designed for a wide audience. The ballads never get too maudlin, the up-tempo numbers never rock too hard. All the songs are about love and good times, whether it's about how it's good to be home or sitting around with Brad Paisley and reminiscing about college. It's all bright and tuneful, closer to the mainstream Midwest rock of the '80s than contemporary country, but that's part of its appeal -- it's well-crafted, highly polished, anthemic roots rock that appeals to the heart of America. While it is true that if you listen hard enough it's possible to hear the formula and the calculation behind Green's amalgam of country and MOR rock, there's no denying that at its best it's hard to resist, and there's also no denying that Lucky Ones finds the singer at his best.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine