My Life's Been a Country Song

My Life's Been a Country Song

5.0 9
by Chris Cagle
     
 

For his fourth album, Chris Cagle has delivered a mostly high-octane workout heavy on the wailing guitars and thundering percussion of '80s arena rock, all in service to the committed performance of meaty songs. Certainly he's singing with an urgency uncommon to his earlier efforts. Even a relatively low-key love song, "If It Isn't One Thing," has an undercurrent of… See more details below

Overview

For his fourth album, Chris Cagle has delivered a mostly high-octane workout heavy on the wailing guitars and thundering percussion of '80s arena rock, all in service to the committed performance of meaty songs. Certainly he's singing with an urgency uncommon to his earlier efforts. Even a relatively low-key love song, "If It Isn't One Thing," has an undercurrent of smoldering tension in Cagle's intense, testifying vocal and the edgy electric guitar lines snaking through the arrangement before soaring up and away in the choruses. There's also a kind of bent sense of humor surfacing here, especially in the driving lead-off song, "What Kind of Gone," in which Cagle, supported by a clever arrangement that favors tough rock guitars but is punctuated by a banjo plunking away in the background, muses over the various definitions of "gone" after his girl takes a powder on him. Another kind of gone is contemplated in the stomping, guitar-driven pulse of "Never Ever Gone," with Cagle lamenting the gal he can't get out of his mind, "no matter how hard I try to turn it off." Ever the romantic, though, the old boy concludes on an optimistic note in the booming power ballad "Change Me": "You can do anything you need / baby, I want to believe / your love can save me." Co-produced by Cagle and the estimable Scott Hendricks, My Life's Been a Country Song puts the music and the message together in compelling fashion. Chris Cagle is on the verge of something big.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Chris Cagle says that his life is a country song in the title of his fourth album -- a claim that may well be true, but based on this 2008 album his life doesn't sound much like a country song. Cagle, like many country singers of his generation, walks the line between classic rock and mainstream country, which means there's more twang in his voice than there is in the music, no matter how many fiddles and trebly Telecasters are pumped up in the mix. Of course, this hardly represents a change of course for Cagle, who has tread this path since his debut, nor is it really a complaint: it's a statement of fact. Fortunately, Cagle has an earnest, plainspoken charm that keeps his music relatable -- it never seems pumped up for arenas, as some rock-influenced contemporary country does -- and he has to rely hard on that charm here, as he has his blandest set of songs yet. Tellingly, this is a collection that contains no originals from Cagle: every tune was penned by a pro. Some of these are quite strong -- the Rhett Akins-written "Little Sundress" is a bright, summery pop tune, the lead single "What Kinda Gone" is a sturdy slice of rocking country -- and some are simply pleasant pieces of product, like the Mellencamp-lite "No Love Songs." There may be just a little bit more of the latter than there should be, but Cagle helps sell them with his neighborly drawl -- enough for them to be casually enjoyable, if not quite memorable. That may not quite be what Cagle needs at this stage -- he hasn't had a big hit since 2004's "Chicks Dig It" and could use another -- but it's a solid double down the middle, enough to keep his batting average up even if he isn't knocking 'em out of the park.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/19/2008
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0094638810629
catalogNumber:
88106

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chris Cagle   Primary Artist
Eric Darken   Percussion
Kenny Greenberg   Electric Guitar
B. James Lowry   Acoustic Guitar
Greg Morrow   Percussion,Drums
Gordon Mote   Piano,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Jimmie Lee Sloas   Bass
Harry Stinson   Background Vocals
Jonathan Yudkin   Fiddle,Mandolin
Russell Terrell   Background Vocals
Neil Thrasher   Background Vocals
Troy Lancaster   Electric Guitar
Perry Coleman   Background Vocals
Tom Bukovac   Electric Guitar
John Carroll   Electric Guitar
John Carroll   Electric Guitar
Mike Johnson   Lap Steel Guitar

Technical Credits

Andy Childs   Composer
Chip Davis   Composer
John Wiggins   Composer
Scott Hendricks   Producer,overdub engineer,Audio Production
Justin Niebank   Engineer
George Teren   Composer
Craig Wiseman   Composer
Rhett Akins   Composer
Neil Thrasher   Composer
Brett James   Composer
Tom Shapiro   Composer
Drew Bollman   Engineer
Jed Hackett   Digital Editing
Wendell Mobley   Composer
Patrick Thrasher   Digital Editing
Steve Mandile   Composer
Chris Cagle   Producer,Audio Production
Monty Criswell   Composer
Blair Daly   Composer
Dave Berg   Composer
Clayton Mills   Composer
Joanna Carter   Art Direction
Michelle Hall   Art Direction
Candy Cameron   Composer
Gregory Becker   Composer
Hank Williams   Mastering

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