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Album Review: “In Overdrive” by Aaron Tippin

March 13, 2009

In Overdrive cover3.5 Stars


Aaron Tippin in his prime was one of the loudest voices in country music, literally and figuratively. Like many however, he has lost his touch with radio and instead of making another failed attempt at rekindling that old flame, he takes the time here to offer a concept album to the trucker with In Overdrive, an album primarily composed of truck driving and road songs.

There is only a single track of the fourteen offered in this project that does not relate to the truck driving profession. With a blend of original material and covers of some more popular hits, Tippin ignores the need for popularity and creates a project that is true to its purpose. The songs in this project cover everything from comedic aspects of  trucker’s to the more delicate aspects of living a great deal of one’s life on the road, away from family and tormented by the long journeys ahead.

Many tracks from this project can be picked out as obvious covers, and for the most part Tippin provides them a surprising amount of justice, even improving on some in ways. The album opens with one of the most classic tunes for the road, “East Bound and Down”, which provides a rich and twangy rendition from Tippin that acts as a great opening hook for the rest of the album. Other notable covers include the popular Eddie Rabbitt hit “Drivin’ My Life Away” and a cover of Jay Huguely’s “The White Knight”. However not all these covers are as glorious as their original tracks. Sawyer Brown’s “Six Days On The Road” lacks many of the vocal aspects that made it such a great song from the band while in the hands of Tippin. On that same note, “Girl On The Billboard”, a previous Road Hammers single and popular road song, also lacks much of the range projection and shine that has helped it in the past.

There are two covers however that are worth some very honorable mention here. The first is Tippin’s cover of Ronnie Milsap’s “Prisoner of the Highway”, a ballad exploring the contradiction between freedom and enslavement as a trucker on the road. Add in the personal and well conformed presentation of the Alabama hit “Roll On” and Tippin’s list of covers is not a complete loss. These tracks are further boasted as well by a decent mix of original material. While sarcastic diddies like “Chicken Truck” provide for a bit of trucking humor, “Truck Drivin’ Man” and ” Movin’ On” act as tributes to the general trucking way of life.

All in all Tippin’s tribute to the truck driver is generally acceptable. It may be plagued by repetitive concepts that make the project seem rather drawn out and a lack of effectiveness on some covers, but considering its purpose the album deserves a good listen all the same. The biggest flaw for the entire project is the addition of the original closing track “Drill Here, Drill Now” which covers the random topic of drilling on the homeland, a concept completely out of place here. It may not be a project of perfection, but for an entertaining listen and a decent mix of classic and future classic road songs it’s worth a good try.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2009 9:29 pm

    “Chicken Truck” was a John Anderson song. I actually don’t know the history of the other song you mentioned in that sentence, but I think all of the songs on the album except for “Drill” are covers. I’m assuming his reasoning for including “Drill Here” on this trucker concept album is because of the price of gas, which relates to truckers’ overhead. I agree, however, that it still sounds out of place.

    I prefer Tippins’ version of “Six Days” to Sawyer Brown’s cover of it. I agree that “Girl on the Bilboard” was probably done better by The Road Hammers, though I’ve heard that the original is better than both of those versions.

    In the end, I probably liked this album more than you did, but I’m glad to see it get some attention all the same.

  2. cowboybleau permalink*
    March 15, 2009 6:55 pm

    I did some research and only found a handful of covers Leeann, at least definite ones. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all covers though. The “Drill” song was actually released a little while back, he added it on so his fans could buy it.

  3. March 15, 2009 11:24 pm

    Yeah, I remember a press release about it when it was released. It was surely tacked on. I believe he wrote it?

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