Clay Aiken

Steadfast

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A somewhat belated attempt to revive Clay Aiken's 2010 standards album Tried & True, 2012's Steadfast takes seven of that record's 11 songs, adds three new recordings -- covers of pre-Beatles pop hits Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and Connie Francis' "Who's Sorry Now," plus the new original tune "Bring Back My Love" -- and ditches the original album art for a straightforward portrait. Why go through this effort to relaunch an old album? The answer lies in Donald Trump, who cast Clay on the spring 2012 season of the Celebrity Apprentice, thereby necessitating fresh product from Aiken on the shelves. Fortunately, Tried & True was an album that deserved a second chance, as it was the record where Aiken seemed most at home: he sounded comfortable singing the melodies we all know by heart, surrounded by soft, handsomely tailored arrangements. In its Steadfast incarnation, these sessions sound no different, but the three new cuts are all good, and the overall package is more appealing than its first incarnation.

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