Chris LeDoux

After the Storm

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In AFTER THE STORM this 30-year veteran of rodeo championships and country music (though not necessarily in that order) has come up with a revealing collection of personal songs intertwined with some of the most authentic country you're likely to hear on the charts in this part of the 21st century. Perhaps because of Chris Ledoux's own late personal crises (recovering from liver surgery), STORM is refreshingly devoid of the anthemic preoccupations with national catastrophes prevalent on other country artistes' contemporaneous albums. Instead he concentrates on the everyday, such as fixing trucks and mending fences, in such songs as "Some Things Never Change."

Incredibly for a modern-day country album, there's also some authentic-sounding Western Swing in the form of "I Don't Want to Mention Any Names," a slyly rocking, traditional sounding track that'd give Bob Wills a run for his money. While STORM isn't entirely free of the more maudlin side of country balladry, songs such as the autobiographical "Cowboy," "Scatter the Ashes," and "Simple As Dirt" show that the more traditional side of the genre is still flourishing.

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