Tom Wopat

The Still of the Night

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What's good for one Duke is good for another. TV and music trivia buffs no doubt remember when John Schneider launched a music career from his Dukes of Hazzard stardom with a cover of Elvis' "It's Now or Never." Years after Schneider's last country success, middle-aged co-star Wopat gives his pipes a shot on standards like "Where or When," "Makin' Whoopee," and "For All We Know." Wopat has a pleasant enough voice, but with minimal range (he seems to be reaching hard for the high notes) -- yet there is a sincerity and sweetness here too. Rather than compensate for his lack of power with huge arrangements, he and producer Russ Titelman keep the jazzy arrangements simple and intimate, most of the time with a trio and a horn backed by subtle strings. The arrangements and piano solos of Rob Mounsey and Larry Goldings are particularly first-rate. Certainly a lot of TV and film stars have made the transition, and Wopat makes a professional presentation. While it makes for nice listening, his biggest challenge is to get people to erase images of 20-year-old car crashes and take him seriously as a crooner.

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