Adam Brand

Its Gonna Be OK

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Brand made a name for himself as that "Aussie country star," but It's Gonna Be OK effectively blurs the line between country, heartland rock, and the pop that made Bryan Adams a superstar in the late '80s. But then again, he's not the first by far -- most people in the style are doing it -- and if it's pulled off the right way, who's gonna care? The record is an enjoyable romp through arena-sized rockers and lighter, soft pop ballads, enlivened by a couple clever interludes such as the fiddle-driven "The Worm" or a couple of rockabilly-like tunes deeper into the album. Brand can do a variety of moods -- jolly reckless rock & roll, romantic pining, laid-back groove -- but it's telling that the two tunes framing It's Gonna Be OK and setting the mood are both straightforward, simple, and catchy, and owe the Boss as much as they do Garth Brooks, and vaguely, of anything Mutt Lange has ever produced. Essentially, Brand is playing the same thing that the likes of Dierks Bentley and Rodney Atkins are doing, maybe dabbling in rock a bit more than them, but never straying far from stylistic mainstream. But if the fact that someone sang about the same feelings the same way he does gives the music a slightly calculated edge, the emotion is genuine and he nails it, making It's Gonna Be OK a good, modern pop-country record that may not top Taylor Swift (who can, in 2010?), but is for sure going to please her fans, an impressive feat by any standard, and even more so for a dude who grew up in Perth, not Nashville.

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