Wayne Nicholson

I Drive

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Moving away from the blues genre that dominated previous releases, Wayne Nicholson has switched gears to a roots rock style, and seems all the better for it. A John Hiatt cover of "Angel" hits the mark but some of the songs get slightly bogged down in well-worn riffs and extended chorus repetitions. The album has Hiatt's fingerprints all over it -- the country hues mixed with smart pop backgrounds. Preferring a safer approach than full-out rockers, Nicholson toes the line admirably, but a couple of songs fall flat, including "Monique." Stuck in the middle is a pretty ballad, "Let Me Love You," which should be a bit higher in the track listing. If there is one obvious drawback, it's the fact the roots genre isn't followed throughout, as the tired pop on "Stealing Away the Years" adds nothing to an otherwise very satisfactory album.

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