England's first album in four years is a leap of faith. For one, he's gone from Ty to Tyler because he says, "this is a more grownup record, with a more mature sound and subject matter." Second, there isn't a song on this 12 track collection that sounds anything like the contemporary country pop that radio favors. But he's true to his traditional roots and provides ear candy for the honky-tonk soul with songs like the up-tempo "My Baby No Esta Aqui," the moving story-song of the "Travelin' Soldier," or the eclectic remake of his only top five hit "Should've Asked Her Faster," with the guitar-lovin' Steve Wariner. What England does lack is vocal enthusiasm, but he makes up for it in originality. Produced by his college buddy Garth Brooks, Highways & Dancehalls is a verifiable reprieve from the bubble gum music we've gotten used to hearing on radio. Country music fans will welcome England back with open arms.
AllMusic Review by Maria Konicki Dinoia
feat: Steve Wariner