There's just something wrong with Nashville, though it's hard to tell if the problem is with the major labels' Nashville offices, the state of contemporary country radio, or both. The fine debut album by the Wrights, 2005's Down This Road, was released by RCA through Alan Jackson's ACR imprint, but this self-titled EP came out nearly three years later on the tiny indie Mailboat Records. It seems impossible that the entirely traditional pure country of these eight songs wouldn't be welcome on a major label, but in these Big & Rich times, there is apparently such a thing as being too country for Nashville. The duo of singer/songwriters Adam Wright and his wife Shannon Wright -- not the Atlanta-based indie artist of the same name who was formerly lead singer of the '90s band Crowsdell -- have admittedly had their path smoothed considerably by family connections: neo-traditionalist country superstar Jackson is Adam Wright's uncle, and this EP was partially produced by Jackson's longtime musical partner Keith Stegall. But the Wrights back up their connections with talent. Shannon Wright has a lovely old-school country gal voice perfectly suited for both heartbroken pedal steel-colored ballads like the weepy opener "Rewind" or "Planting Flowers" and more uptempo material like the flirty, playful "A Love Like That." Adam's voice is a bit more ordinary, although his showcase "Home Sweet Highway" is a good old-fashioned life-on-the-road song delivered with appropriate gusto, and their voices blend well on duets like "You're the Kind of Trouble" and "You Were Made for Me." Musically, the album is strictly trad country, with none of the generic soft rock schlock that equates to country radio airplay. Pity: the format could use more of this.
The Wrights Review
by Stewart Mason