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Unconditional
     

Unconditional

4.7 3
by Clay Davidson
 

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While the title track came out of the gate and straight up the country charts, that dreamy, string-laden power ballad is the exception rather than the rule on Clay Davidson's promising debut. Early Travis Tritt comes to mind, as do Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels

Overview

While the title track came out of the gate and straight up the country charts, that dreamy, string-laden power ballad is the exception rather than the rule on Clay Davidson's promising debut. Early Travis Tritt comes to mind, as do Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band, but any way you cut it, this Saltville, Virginia, native has looked to the right artists for inspiration and delivered a potent album. Davidson's pliant, husky tenor voice is most convincing when things get gritty and rocking, southern style. Searing barn-burners such as "Doghouse Rights," the album opener, "Makin' Hay," and the infectious shuffle "One More Day" underscore his spiritual kinship to the Skynyrd boys and CDB. But there's room for sensitivity, too, not only on "Unconditional" but most impressively on the blues-tinged lament "What Was I Thinking Of," a well-wrought account of the consequences of thoughtless behavior. As a writer, Davidson explores the little things that glue a friendship or love affair together, and he isn't afraid of to own up when his selfishness almost costs him dearly (the well-observed love ballad "Sometimes"). With good songs and fiery performances -- and a reverence for the old masters that he wears on his sleeve -- Clay Davidson delivers. David McGee

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
When you think of Nashville tastemakers, the name of pop
ocker Jude Cole may not be the first that comes to mind, but it was Cole who saw Clay Davidson at a party thrown for him by Virgin Records Nashville and became his sponsor. A more likely choice would be Virgin Nashville's President and CEO Scott Hendricks, who actually drew up the contract and co-produced this, Davidson's debut album. What the two heard, one supposes, was an artist capable of heading in the more hard rocking direction Nashville seemed to have decided on for turn of the century country music. "Makin' Hay," the album's lead-off track, has a definite Lynyrd Skynyrd/Allman Brothers Band sound, and by "I Can't Lie to Me," the second track, there is an acoustic guitar (courtesy of Cole) reminiscent of the Marshall Tucker Band. Later on, Wet Willie vocalist/harmonica player Jimmy Hall guests on "Doghouse Rights." Not all of the album sounds like '70s Southern rock, by any means. There are ballads of romantic devotion with a steel guitar chiming in and songs that are more honky tonk than rock. But Unconditional stakes out a crossover sound that reflects Nashville's hunger to extend its reach beyond its base. As the vehicle of this marketing strategy, Davidson is a likely enough candidate, with a sturdy baritone that can be gruff or smooth, and as a writer or co-writer on seven of the 11 tracks, he seems a willing participant. But there's nothing here that's particularly striking from a creative standpoint.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/11/2000
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0724384885427
catalogNumber:
48854

Tracks

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Unconditional 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have never heard a better song than Unconditional. The first time I heard it I cried. The second time I heard it I cried...but I knew all the words. Even after hearing it a dozen times...I still cry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I dismissed Gary Davidson after hearing the obviously focus-grouped, target-marketed title track ''Unconditional''. This first single is among a handful of songs NOT written by Davidson and it not indicative of the rest of the music in this collection. I was fortunate enough to see Davidson on a recent Austin City Limits program and heard a guy who sang like Charlie Daniels or Travis Tritt but who played guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughn. Get away from the crossover recipe songs and you'll hear a guy with country roots but who I'll bet grew up listening to Vaughn, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. Working in Nashville, I hear he lives in the Mt. Juliet area, which makes him a neighbor of Charlie Daniels. If this guy makes his music his way he'll either get snuffed out by commercial Nashville (remember Doug Supernaw)or be the next big thing. The talent is definetly there. After all, he plays his own lead guitar and, anymore, its hard to find anyone fronting a band in Nashville who still knows how to PLAY a guitar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have 3 copies of the cd.This is the most talented man to have been associated with Country music since I couldn't tell you when.All of his music on this album is excellent!!!Simply because Clay sings with his heart and soul in everything he does!!His music has always,and always will be special to me and my family!!No=one on the market has such pure country honesty as Clay!!