John Michael Montgomery

Home to You

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John Michael Montgomery settled into a groove early into his career, choosing to never push things too far. He had an easygoing style and a mellow baritone that sounded equally good on country rockers and love ballads. To the dismay of hardcore country purists, Montgomery chose to keep things easy -- his rockers never pushed too hard and his ballads were clean and calm. This inclination to keep things smooth only increased as his career progressed, and his sixth album, Home to You, is his smoothest yet. Nearly every song on the album is a love ballad, and all of them sound better-suited for adult contemporary radio than contemporary country radio (in the case of "Nothing Catches Jesus by Surprise," it could fit right into a CCM station's play list). Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, since Montgomery's strength has always been ballads, but the album winds up sounding very homogenous and bland after a while. It's hardly an unpleasant listen, yet few songs distinguish themselves from their peers. Those that do will undoubtedly sound fine on the inevitable second greatest-hits collection, but in this context they're part of the sonic fabric on an album that is essentially romantic country mood music.

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