You might not expect that a long stretch playing drums with the Ben Vaughn Combo would be the training ground for a great country songwriter, but the debut album from Lonesome Bob (aka Bob Chaney) proves new voices can come from unexpected places. Bob's melodies are sturdy and strong, the stuff Nashville classics used to be built from, and his voice is expressive and flexible while still sounding like the guy next door, but what really sets him apart on Things Fall Apart are his lyrics, which tell tales of love, jealousy, and infidelity that push cheatin' songs into a whole new direction. "Love Is Not Blind" blows a hole in one of the most common clichés in music history, while "Do You Think About Me" and "Point of No Return" are those rare C&W songs that have something new and intelligent to say about lusting after the wrong person. When he isn't thinking about love, Bob has plenty to say about the puzzling state of organized religion ("Heaven's Gate") and the ethical checks and balances of everyday life ("My Mother's Husband"), and "The Plans We Made" may be the most heartwrenching murder ballad to come out of Nashville in a generation. Bob produced this set himself, and the results are clean and intelligently crafted modern honky tonk, with guests spots from Wilco's Ken Coomer, Tim Carroll, and Bob's old boss Ben Vaughn, while Allison Moorer contributes superb backing vocals on most of the tracks (this marked her first appearance on record, a year before she released her superb solo debut Alabama Song). Things Fall Apart takes a long look at the dark side of life, but it's also a side most all of us have glimpsed at one time or another, and Lonesome Bob buffers the blows with a passionate humanity and subtle good humor; it's an impressive debut from someone with the potential to become a major artist.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming