Rockie Lynne

Rockie Lynne

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On the cover of his eponymous 2006 debut, Rockie Lynne looks a little like a little brother of Australian country hunk Keith Urban and his blend of contemporary country, melodic pop, and anthemic rock is not all that dissimilar to Urban, either. And like Urban, who can never quite escape his roots in New Zealand and Australia, Lynne is most certainly the product of his homeland, but Rockie is from the American South, so his modern country feels a little more genuinely country than Urban's. Even when Lynne's music seems a little calculated -- and there are plenty of times where it does, especially on the ridiculous watered-down Big & Rich of "Super Country Cowboy," the sappy "That's Where Songs Come From," and the well-intentioned we're-all-American clich├ęs of "Red, White and Blue" ("The black man, the white man, and the Sioux/The middle class, the poor, and the well to do/They're red, white, and blue") -- it is a calculation that's purely American, and feels genuine. Plus, even if these songs pander a little, they do illustrate that Lynne knows how to craft songs that push the right buttons to get him heard and get him on the charts, and that hits at the heart of what makes Rockie Lynne an appealing debut: behind his good-looks image, Lynne is a solid songwriter and singer, turning out friendly, sturdy modern country, whether it's on lightly rocking tunes like "Big Time in a Small Town," surging country-pop like "Lipstick," or sentimental ballads like "More." He may not push the boundaries of the genre much, but he works well within its confines, hitting the mark more often than not. Not every cut here works, but the ones that do are quite good and add up to a mainstream country debut that's both satisfying and promising.

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