Nashville singer/songwriter Jerry Castle's second solo album, Don't Even Ask started out to be a demo session to produce tracks he could use to shop his compositions around town, hoping to get some country star to cut them. Although it coheres as a collective musical statement and Castle proves a winning performer of his own material, the disc still may serve primarily for its intended purpose. Castle is very much a contemporary country writer of a particular kind, one who eschews the more honky tonk aspects of the genre for its platitudinous side. He can write a heartfelt tribute to his daughter ("Rainbows for Ava") or reflect sadly on a marriage gone wrong ("Bends"), though his usual subject is a kind of self-referential support system in which he bucks himself up to face life's challenges. Keeping to the Nashville mold, he does so in generalized, clichéd terms, which makes it difficult for his songs to stand out from the pack. Similarly, he sings in an relaxed low tenor with a pronounced Southern twang, only occasionally adopting a somewhat more biting tone in the manner of, say, Steve Earle ("Charades"), singing over conventional country-pop arrangements. It all goes down easy, but the songs may take a more distinctive interpreter to make them into valuable copyrights for their author.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann