Arkansas native Buddy Jewell has a solid, low, tenor voice that doesn't make mistakes, and he knows what to do with a lyric. These qualities made him a sought after demo singer in Nashville, and after he was declared the winner of the USA channel's Nashville Star talent search, he was cast into the public's eye, where his everyman demeanor made him a fan favorite. The problem on this album, made up of songs written by brothers and veteran country songwriters Arthur and Alton Corey, with help from Dennis Martin, is that Jewell's voice, while rich and professional, has no distinctive quality to set it apart from any other hat-act out there. In other words, given a good song, he'll do it justice, but the song will have to carry the show, and these songs don't. They're not bad songs, they're just not distinctive in any way. The one possible hit here, the mildly clever "I Get the Bird," is unforgettable, in a way, but it is really more of a good idea than a good song. In a similar vein, it is hard to tell whether "Parrothead Paradise" is a Jimmy Buffett parody, or a Jimmy Buffett homage, since it doesn't work clearly as either. Tales of the New West isn't a bad album, it just isn't a good one.
Tales of the New West Review
by Steve Leggett