Mike Walker

Mike Walker

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Dreamworks puts in its bid to replace the supposedly retiring Garth Brooks with Walker, a classic country interpreter who does sweet, syrupy ballads and twangy rockers with equal aplomb. He illustrates this facility late in the tracking when he follows the seductive romance "Honey Love Me That Way" with the free-for-all, harmonica-wailing bar band jam "Rub It In" (a modern day "Achy Breaky Heart"-flavored rave-up without the silliness) and "Memphis Women and Chicken," a humorous look at women who cook in many ways. Like all great crooners, he's ace at modulating his voice depending on the mood and emotional need. He's also blessed by some of the best musicians in Nashville and a lengthy song list (14 tracks) with not one bit of filler. Time will tell if all the promise bears the fruit of longevity. Odds are good.

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