Mel Tillis

Loves Troubled Waters

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You know Mel Tillis is working too hard when he can't contribute a single original song to his own album. That isn't to say Loves Troubled Waters is an inferior effort, but those who appreciate Tillis' distinctive songwriting will find none of it here. The album's hit single, "I Got the Hoss," is similar to Nat Stuckey's 1968 hit "Plastic Saddle" in that it also uses horse-related imagery and invites off-color interpretations. Tillis sounds great for a performer 20 years into his career and still hitting his stride. The crisp rock-inflected country sound he used for so long has given way to a sharp contemporary style at this point, but Tillis still works his shuffle beat now and then for the honky tonk hardwood floor. Tillis reached the top by doing his thing until it stuck, so anyone who likes a particular era of his music will probably enjoy all of it.

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