Chad Brock


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Chad Brock broke through with "Ordinary Life," the second single from his self-titled 1998 debut, and he returns with this follow-up, another agreeable collection of bland pop-country. It is some measure of the state of country music that a performer as faceless as this one can be thought of as sufficiently traditionalist to attract cameos from George Jones and Hank Williams, Jr. on a boneheaded update of that boneheaded anthem "A Country Boy Can Survive," when the rest of his music adopts a crossover style that often makes it sound more appropriate for the adult contemporary rather than the country charts. But that remake did make the charts, and the title track, a Brock co-composition telling the story of how he met and married his wife, was a substantial hit by the time the album was released. The reason is that Brock is well-suited to the limited demands of country radio; on these sketchy songs, he references country music without really playing it. Somewhere in the mix a fiddle and steel guitar usually lurk, but not so you'd notice them, and the songs, two-verse specials with big choruses built on clich├ęs ("You Had to Be There," "If I Were You"), outline the kind of sentimental, sometimes maudlin, common-man love stories typical of country lyrics, without ever getting specific enough to sound believable (and that includes the "true story" in "Yes!"). Brock sings in an artless, unaffected tenor that makes him seem more like an anonymous demo singer than a name recording artist. If this is the kind of harmless, homogenized music that country radio likes in 2000 (and it is), maybe that's just because it makes for little interruption in mood from the commercials that really pay the bills.

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