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Album Review: “My Life’s Been A Country Song” by Chris Cagle

March 6, 2008

After a hiatus to recover from both musical and physical handicaps, Chris Cagle climbs back into the music scene with his fourth album. Every album Chris has done has shown a decent amount of growth a maturity as compared to his previous works. After a long wait, fans needed something good to keep them entertained and Chris himself needed a good project to bring him back onto the scene with a bullet.

Of course the album starts right off with his first single from it, “What Kinda Gone”. The instrumentals are very well done and blend well with the enjoyment in Chris’s voice. In addition to that the song is unique and opens the listener up to something new, always a good way to start off an album, and it gives them something familiar to listen to to remind them why they bought the album. The good part is the fun doesn’t stop there. Chris sticks with the upbeat songs but shifts vocal gears to a more talkative, conversing song “No Love Songs”. Chris mixes easy vocals with a story-telling performance as he explains an interaction between two men at a bar, one a singer and the other a broken hearted fool who wants to hear any song that contradicts a love song. Chris adds in a very entertaining vocal delivery that rubs off on the listener and allows them to put themselves in the midst of the scenario that Cagle is portraying. The third track shift gears again vocally, but keeps the fun going. “Its Good To Be Back” adds a country/rock twist to the album and is completely appropriate for Cagle’s comeback album. This is sure to be a crowd favorite considering that it is a well performed fan/artist interaction song that makes you want to sing out loud and gives a convincing peak into Cagle as an entertainer on stage as well as off stage.

 As the album progress Cagle plays with his listeners emotions by shifting from three fun songs to his trademark tear-jerking vocals. “I Don’t Want To Live” is a song about regret and longing to be given a second chance after what appears to have been a mistake in letting love slip away. Cagle returns to his prime with a very sincere and powerful performance that comes straight from the heart. The instrumentals are the flaw in the songs like this, they tend to overshadow Chris’s vocals a little a take away from the majesty of his personal performance a little, making the song slightly forgettable and seemingly indifferent from other performances these days. For the first time in the album Cagle become repetitive when he follows this up with “Never Ever Gone” which is a mid tempo song along the same line, complete with the same instrumental performance that draws away any power this song added to the album and makes it sound too much like an album filler.

Adding a romantic tone to follow up two repetitive heartbreak songs, “If It Isn’t One Thing” is a catchy love tune to which Chris adds a sultry country vocal to bring out the passion in the words. This may not be a slow dance song, but it is sure to get the young love flowing, even in the oldest of couples. This is followed up by another love tune, “Keep Me From Loving You”, that follows the lines of Shania’s “You’re Still The One” and Jason Michael Carroll’s “Livin’ Our Love Song”, however it starts from the very beginning instead of looking back. Cagle adds his sultry vocals to the lyrics again and the instrumental performances are dulled down a bit to do this song much more justice than the three songs prior to it.

As the album reaches its last few songs Chris returns to the upbeat feeling in “Little Sundress” which adds love into the mix but doesn’t include his sultry vocals. Instead it allows Chris to create a very well performed, fun love song that avoids the mushy, tearjerking stuff for a nice change. In addition to a less mushy love song Cagle also has a less tear-jerking leavin’ song to follow it up in “My Heart Move On” which adds a latino beat to a country sound for a catchy result.

 The album concludes with two totally different songs. “My Life’s Been A Country Song” serves as Cagle’s tribute to the music he grew up with. In addition it reminisces on Trace Adkins song “Songs About Me” by explaining just why country music is so cool to listen to and even includes references to songs as old as Merle’s “Mama Tried” to songs a new as Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It”. Finally, the album ends with another powerful tearjerker, “Change Me”. This serves as one of the most unique love songs I’ve ever heard as Chris speaks through a man who believes that all it will take is his significant other’s love to make him a better man.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Cagles’ fourth album, considering that “Anywhere But Here” was a mild disappointment. However I was quite impressed. The biggest flaws of this album are that many songs are overproduced and slightly overdone instrumentally. Vocally this is Chris’s best album yet and sadly he didn’t have a hand in writing any of the songs on the album. Maybe he can reach that peak of perfection when he gets back into writing a singing his own material.

 

2.5 Stars

 

produced by: Scott Hendricks & Chris Cagle

 Tracks:

  1. What Kinda Gone
  2. No Love Songs
  3. It’s Good To Be Back
  4. I Don’t Wanna Live
  5. Never Ever Gone
  6. If It Isn’t One Thing
  7. Keep Me From Loving You
  8. Little Sundress
  9. My Heart Move On
  10. My Life’s Been A Country Song
  11. Change Me
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jordan Stacey permalink
    March 7, 2008 7:57 pm

    I Actually found Anywhere But Here to be his best work to date. This new one I didn’t really enjoy. After such a long break from the charts I expected more from him and this just didn’t deliver. Chris’ vocals were never the greatest in the world, but to me it sounds like he’s phoning it in on this one. The only thing I liked about it is the last three songs, they are the best on the album and they make this album almost worth buying. *1/2

  2. Leeann permalink
    March 7, 2008 10:09 pm

    I think it’s criminal for Scott Hendericks to convince an artist not to record any of his own material and make him feel as though his stuff doesn’t cut it. First of all, I don’t think any of these songs are superior to songs that he has written himself. Second of all, a producer shouldn’t take the artist out of the singer. It’s one thing if Chris didn’t want to record any of his own songs, but it’s another when he’s told that he shouldn’t and made to feel as though his songs are no good. I doubt that this album will be any more successful than his others. I think Hendricks didn’t find the actual reason that Chris’s albums aren’t more successful. Also, I doubt that Hendrick’s over production has improved Cagle’s likelihood for success.

  3. cowboybleau permalink*
    March 7, 2008 11:03 pm

    I do enjoy the overproduction in some songs. It actually works with “Little Sundress” and “My Heart Move On”. However I think it really takes away from Chris’s more memorable performances. I do agree that Chris should have been able to do more of his own material, but for what this album does contain its very good.

  4. Misty permalink
    May 7, 2008 8:03 pm

    I enjoy your writing style. If you would be interested in receiving artists materials for additional reviews, send me an email!

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