One Good Friend is the American major-label debut for George Canyon, a Canadian country singer whose 1999 eponymous debut made a few waves in his homeland. It still took him a long time to cross over into the American market -- a long five years separates that record and the stateside appearance of One Good Friend in the fall of 2004. During that time, he went through the Nashville production line, shedding some of the Canadian quirks and winding up as a likable, straight-ahead neo-traditionalist country singer. Canyon has a nice tenor voice, one that he can twist into a good approximation of George Jones when he wants to (as he does on the novelty highlight "Workin' on Ten"), but this record is too smooth and friendly to be hardcore honky tonk. That's just used as a bit of flavor on a record that's cheerfully middle-of-the-road country: catchy but not too poppy; professional but not too labored; friendly but never pandering. Canyon doesn't yet have a distinctive on-record persona, but he's a friendly, ingratiating vocalist with good taste for engaging, if somewhat generic, material, and that makes this a good American introduction to this promising Canadian singer. It may not be a home run, but it's a straight-down-the-middle successful double.
One Good Friend Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine