First off, there are a couple of tracks that are throwaways, ones that I could easily do without. “Hillbilly” feels clichéd while “Bring Down the House” seems like something that would be cut by Florida Georgia Line (though Brody makes his way through it without turning to the assistance of auto-tune). These tracks are mostly skippable. You won’t miss much by hitting the fast-forward button when these tracks come on.
Then of course there are some feel good tracks that may not make huge impressions, but are still enjoyable to listen to. There are songs about small-towns and kicking back and relaxing, but little offends. There are some love ballads. The album’s first single, “Upside Down,” is one of those easy-going tracks that’s easy to like solely for what it is.
But then there are a handful of tracks on the album that are special, that really make the album worth a few multiple listens. “Monterey” is a great track that reminisces about the good times of the past by looking back upon them with fondness. What makes this song work (whereas similar songs by artists like Luke Bryan fail) is that the singer of this song realizes he’s a grown man. And while he may wish that he didn’t have to leave this past, he’s not out partying every Friday night like he’s still in his early twenties college life. It’s a song of memories rather than of current experiences.
“Sweet Lola” may be the one of the two best tracks on the album. In this song, the singer spins a story of being a Canadian backpacker in Mexico who is thrown in a Mexican jail for making advances on Lola, the local cartel girl. Despite having a cellmate who’s making a knife and planning a jailbreak and knowing the dangers involved, the singer is determined to make Lola his own. “Footprints of a Giant” is another top track on the album. Either of these two songs I could see making my Top Ten songs of the year at the end of the year.
Brody also visits a song that Joe Nichols recorded on his album III. “As Country As She Gets” is not your typical song about a party-hard girl who believes she’s country because she loves drinking out in the field. Instead, the song takes the opposite approach and explores a girl who has no interest in that lifestyle and is more content with a city-life with modern conveniences, and that her love for the singer is the only thing “country” about her…he’s “about as country as she gets.”
“Old Friend” is another beautiful track which may remind some of the Billy Yates song (and Chris Young recorded this song, as well), “Flowers.” This isn’t a reference to the content of the song, so much as the song structure.
Brody concludes the album with an acoustic rendition of the title track from his second album “Trail In Life,” which remains one of my favorite Dean Brody songs and still brings a tear to my eye during the final chorus.
As I mentioned earlier, the album does a lot more right than it does wrong, and it’s easy to forget about its mistakes by the time the album is over. This is of course all helped by the fact that Brody is a high-caliber vocalist who has won numerous awards in his native Canada.
I would definitely recommend this album. Give it a shot. You may not walk away having heard the best album of the year, but I don’t think you’ll regret listening to it.