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Clay Blaker

Rumor Town – 1998 (Neobilly)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Clay Blaker

Clay Blaker is best-known as the writer of a half-dozen George Strait songs, but on this, his fourth solo album, he proves he has a lot to offer as an artist, too.

One of the highlights is the title track, about the relationships and gossip in a small town. A similarly enjoyable uptempo song is the opener, "Distance," in which Blaker sings, "Distance is the only thing, the only thing I'll keep from you." Except for the silly uptempo song, "Livin' Every Night Like It's Saturday Night," the writing is consistently good. The production ranges from standard New Country on the uptempo songs to steel-driven old-time country on the Buck Owens song, "Heart of Glass."

The only thing that's keeping Blaker from becoming a star is his voice. It's smooth and pleasant, but lacks the distinctiveness of, say, a Mark Chesnutt, who recorded Blaker's "I May Be a Fool." Blaker's version here just can't compare. Still, this CD is worth a listen to hear a great songwriter and, perhaps, some future hits for other artists.