Ronnie Milsap

My Life

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Prior to 2006's My Life, Ronnie Milsap had not made an album of new material for a major label in years. The last was True Believer, recorded for Liberty in 1993, which followed Back to the Grindstone, his parting of ways with RCA Records, by two years. Over that decade-and-a-half, Milsap wasn't exactly inactive -- he continued to play shows and record, including re-recording his biggest songs for Capitol in 1996, and a collection of standards in 2004, but My Life qualifies as a genuine comeback, as it finds Milsap returning to RCA and recording songs that are not only new, but addresses American life in the early 2000s. This, of course, is most explicit on "A Day in the Life of America," a chronicling of mundane everyday events that borders on the depressing, but My Life finds Milsap reminiscing about his life in a manner appropriate only for a singer in his sixties. This provides My Life with slightly nostalgic undertones at times, but the album never feels melancholy: it's as bright and tuneful and relaxed as the best of his early-'80s crossover albums. In fact, if it wasn't for Keith Stegall's crisp, thoroughly modern production, it would be easy to mistake My Life as an unearthed lost album from Milsap's early-'80s peak, and that's what makes it such a good comeback: song for song, this stays true to Milsap's strengths as a country-pop hitmaker, yet recasts it in a manner that's fresh without pandering to the charts. If he doesn't make another record, My Life will stand as a worthy coda to his career, but hopefully, this excellent album will be the start of a third act in a career that's been quite remarkable.

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