John Gregory

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If you remember John Cougar Mellencamp's early years with a surge of adolescent-hormone nostalgia, or if Will Hoge's first two albums bring a tear to your eye, then you're sure to love the debut effort from John Gregory, on which his unassumingly confessional lyrics and charmingly hoarse voice are couched in unapologetically melodic heartland guitar rock that will make you feel like you're driving through the cornfields at dusk in a pickup truck with the windows open no matter where you are. "Ride of Your Life" and "It's OK, It's Alright" are classic uplift anthems, the kind of songs that people ask DJs to play on the radio for their friends who are going through hard times. On "Stronger Than Gravity" Gregory proclaims his willingness to endure jail time or crucifixion if that's what it takes to keep his girl; on "Up Against My Heart" he praises his girlfriend for trying to make him quit smoking and recognizes that she does it because she wants to be with him forever, not just because she's trying to change him. Throughout the album he's pushed along by Mellencamp's drummer and the Wallflowers' organist, among other similarly inclined session pros, and if the result isn't either groundbreaking or innovative, it's as satisfying as a good steak dinner.

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