Brad Cotter

Patient Man

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Brad Cotter is the winner of the second season of Nashville Star, a USA Network series that offers a down-home spin on Fox's runaway success American Idol. Like American Idol, Nashville Star naturally gravitates toward the middle of the road -- part of the point of these talent contests is to find singers who appeal to the broadest possible spectrum, so it should come as no shock that the winners are firmly within the mainstream. The first Nashville Star winner, Buddy Jewell, was a Texan who, no matter how friendly he was, had little of the grit that marks Lone Star country. Cotter is similar to Jewell -- a likable everyman, with modest but discernible vocal talents and a pleasant personality. He's not from Texas -- he's from Alabama, but he sounds pure Nashville on his quickly released debut album, Patient Man, which appeared just about two months after the close of competition. He has a mellow tenor voice that slips easily into these polished arrangements that lack twang but have an evenhanded blend of post-Garth Brooks country, Alabama (the band, not the state) country-rock, and, of course, a lot of '70s soft rock. All ten songs are midtempos -- "Blue Collar Night" may try to get rowdy, but it would never be played in a honky tonk -- and they're all produced and performed quite well, and Cotter proves that he can fit into these slick Nashville surroundings quite comfortably.

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