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Album Review: “Broken In” by Trent Willmon

March 30, 2008

Broken InFresh off of Compadre Records is the third installment of Trent Willmon’s career. Now Trent has never really been a take off artist and has only been able to snag minor hits once in a while, resulting in his shift to a small power label. Trent has a decent voice and knows who he is, but it takes much more than that to make a country singer.

The album starts with its title track “Broken In” which is a catchy tune that grows on you fast. Its writing is a little questionable, it’s hard to decipher if it’s a romance thing or a country-pride song, but it’s a decent start that sets the mood for the album. Despite a decent start, the rest of the album is not so decent, not bad but not as good as it could be. In fact “Dry County” is another decent song, but just decent. The song provides a sly play on words that expresses the singer’s home town as not only free of alcohol but free of any excitement in several other areas as well. Again it’s catchy, but it is forgettable.

Just when I thought Trent provided a decent album it goes a little mediocre. “Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You”does contain Willmon’s trademark sound, but the performance sounds shaky and held back a little in the verses and a little to dramatic in the chorus. The whole production sounds a little awkward throughout the song and while it is a unique song about how fights and struggles in ways of life may cause relationship issues but not stop the love in the end, it is also very forgettable and sound too much like a filler. “Cold Beer And A Fishin’ Pole”is equally awkward for a different reason. A trick mike is used to try to add “coolness” to the song, but instead it really takes away from an otherwise decent country fun song. In fact it makes it seems as though they try to make this song sound too much like today’s style instead of Trent’s own style.

It seems that Trent’s most effective vocal performances come on his slower and easier songs, otherwise it sounds like he’s tried to hard to try to  make this a great album. “The Way I Remember It” is a nice and peaceful vocal that sounds great from Trent and expresses a unique message about how as life changes the simple things in memory seem much more perfect and pleasing and “How A Cowboy Lives”and very effective tribute to Trent’s favorite alternate profession. So this album is not all that bad and contains very decent smooth vocals from Willmon, but most of the album has overdone vocals or songwriting that just doesn’t stick as well as his works on other labels.

“The Truth”is a familiar and commonly unsuccessful message of a man trying to lie about his hurt, reminiscent and much less effective than “Anywhere But Here”from Chris Cagle, so again we have forgettable songwriting. Now every album has its fillers, but the issues with Trent’s album is that it is the first off his new label and he should be trying to prove that he still has what it takes to give it all. Fillers like these do not do that at all. “Little Set Of Horns”is actually a decent fast paced song that has a guy praising his woman as an angel, but still has those evil thoughts that give her those small set of horns that keep her on the wild side and is much more memorable than the title track. Even the combination of fellow small stars Kevin Fowler and Roger Creager with Trent on “The Good Ol’ Days Are Gone”is more memorable than the title track, but it still doesn’t add much to brag about in this work.

“Tumbleweed Town”is boring. Its has nice vocals but again it sounds very awkward and and very repetitive. It still keeps Trent’s traditional sound, but its overdone instrumentally and the notes that Trent hits make this chorus very awkward to listen to in relation to the chorus. Sometimes the song seems slow and peaceful and other times intense and over-dramatic. “I’ll Love You Anyway”is a little less awkward, but again its forgettable. It adds nothing to this album that makes it worth the listen. It does add a unique outlook on love basically saying “I’ll take what I can get”, but there are still awkward vocal issues in some minor part of the song. It doesn’t stand out at all, plain and simple. Of course the first single “There Is A God”ends it all and still has some awkward vocal performance and introduces an underdone aspect of the song. However this time the instrumental issues actually work for the mood of the song and Trent makes it very believable and sincere in the chorus which somehow makes up for the issues in the verses making the song just as good as Trent’s other smoother vocals in the song.

Basically this album is typical to Trent’s sound and mildly entertaining and moving in some parts. However many of the songs are forgettable and don’t really leave you saying “this was worth my money”. Trent puts his heart into many of the songs that really bring it out quite nicely. On the other songs it sounds as if Trent was forced to sing them and really didn’t care how they ended up on recording. His vocals are either underdone or awkward and lack a personal feel in many cases. It is decent for what its worth, but there are maybe only five or six songs on this really worth the listen in the end.

 

 2.5 Stars

 

produced by: Rodney Clawson, Dan Frizsell, and Trent Willom

executive producer: Matthew Knowles

 Tracks:

  1. Broken In
  2. Dry County
  3. Doesn’t Mean That I Don’t Love You
  4. Cold Beer And A Fishin’ Girl
  5. The Way I Remember It
  6. The Good Ol’ Days Are Gone (w/ Kevin Fowler and Roger Creager)
  7. How A Cowboy Lives
  8. The Truth
  9. Little Set Of Horns
  10. Tumbleweed Town
  11. I’ll Love You Anyway
  12. There Is A God
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