California-based singer/songwriter Danney Ball is probably better known -- to the extent that he's known at all -- as a perennial failed Republican candidate for state office. (Yes, he was in the free-for-all special election that resulted in Governor Terminator.) Songwrangler reveals that he's considerably more credible as a singer/songwriter than a politician, starting with the wryly sardonic opener, "Songs for Sale." Ball is one of those country lyricists who trades primarily in puns, reversals, and parodies of pop culture ephemera, which means that a good chunk of this album is fairly corny. However, corn has a long and proud tradition in country music, and Ball isn't targeting this album to the casual country fan, but to those who look back fondly on the Nudie suits at the Opry era. Songwrangler does a fine job of bringing that ethos into the present via songs like the Jerry Maguire-inspired "You Had Me from Hello," which has the two-step swing and driving fiddle of a classic Ernest Tubb side.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason