Andy Griggs

This I Gotta See

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Andy Griggs has a voice suited for hard country music: strong and gritty, yet his twangy tenor shows just enough vulnerability to coax out a tear or two. Too bad that he has yet to make an album that lives up to that voice. On his third album, This I Gotta See, he delivers a professional, assured contemporary country record that flirts with his harder honky tonk influences, yet it's still the slickest effort he's cut, heavy on sweet ballads and melodic mid-tempo tunes, with a few faster numbers that offer a nice change of pace. These are well-constructed songs and productions, and Griggs sells them well, but they're not particularly memorable; by and large, they're pleasant listening, not captivating, even if his voice demands your attention. At times, he gets a song that gives him a good showcase for his talents -- ballads like "Be Still," or ravers like the lean "Hillbilly Band" -- but when the album ends with the laid-back, soulful, pure country "No Mississippi" (featuring guest appearances by Bekka Bramlett and Delbert McClinton), it's clear that this loose, down-home feel is right for Griggs. He would prosper on an album that was loose, relaxed, and had its heart in pure country. On This I Gotta See, those brief glimpses of straight-ahead country are surrounded by songs that fit the Nashville game plan, and while those are pleasant enough, Griggs is capable of doing something better -- as he proves on moments on this solid album, which is enough to make it worth a listen.

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