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Brian Davis

Under the Influence – 2012 (TWANGVILLE)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Brian Davis

During the title track to Brian Davis' album, this tough guy country singer/songwriter tips his hat to both Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. For clarity's sake, however, Davis is more under the influence of these two icon's outlaw rebel spirit, rather than the actual sound of their music. There are more bass-heavy rock grooves than down home country twanging going on with this music.

Lyrically, he comes out like a less poetic Eric Church on Long Line Of Wrong, which speaks to the generational effect vices can have on a family line.

Sonically, Davis owes more to Jason Aldean than any of the country he claims to be influenced by because he seemingly loves to sing about drinking it up (Bang Bang) and revving it up with pounding drums, thumping bass and loud, loud guitars. With Light Of My Hometown, he sings an ode to his small town upbringing, which is nearly a prerequisite for any up and coming country artist. (Heaven help any emerging country performer from a big city).

One big problem with pandering to the everyman in one's audience, as Davis does over and over again on "Under The Influence," is that such artists begin to sound just as anonymous as the folks their singing to. Cash and Haggard weren't just rebels; they were also truly unique individuals that let their uniqueness shine through their personalized songs. Brian Davis may find a lot of drinking buddies with his tailor made rock-country songs, but he won't ever become any sort of icon until he discovers his own voice.