Trent Willmon's self-titled debut album is a fairly typical piece of Nashville product. Decked out in the de rigueur cowboy hat, the West Texas native sings in a matter-of-fact low tenor, indulging in perhaps one too many mannered groans more reminiscent of Britney Spears than Merle Haggard, but his voice is an efficient delivery device for the songs, which are played in what passes for standard country in the early 21st century, arrangements that feature more electric guitar and a heavier beat than traditional country, but mix in fiddle and pedal steel guitar to make the style unmistakable. In fact, one track, "All Day Long," even has echoes of Western swing. Co-writing eight of the 11 tracks in the company of 11 other writers, Willmon drenches his lyrics in alcohol and romantic regret, starting with the leadoff track, a statement of purpose if there is one, called "Beer Man." "Home Sweet Holiday Inn" is sung by a divorced father to the child with whom he has visitation rights spent in a motel. Other songs address a departed lover whose reasons for leaving are never explained; rather, the songwriters focus on gimmicks, such as the city-limits sign in "Population 81" (it used to say "Population 82," you see) and the flat West Texas plains that keep the ex-girlfriend's getaway car in sight "All Day Long." Of course, with all this romantic discord, liquor gets drunk throughout the album -- six of 11 songs refer to alcohol. But Willmon's protagonist doesn't drink because he's unhappy in love; he just drinks. This is made clear in "Every Now and Then," in which a man whose romance is in order nevertheless goes out for a few rounds occasionally with no better excuse than "I just do it every now and then to remind myself why I just do it every now and then." Alcoholics Anonymous wouldn't approve, of course, but country fans in honky tonks around the country will understand that sentiment perfectly.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann