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Marty Brown

Here's to the Honky Tonks – 1996 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Marty Brown

After three commercially unsuccessful albums on MCA, Marty Brown now releases his debut on the independent label Hightone, and ironically, it's his most commercial disc yet.

The instrumental tracks sound like those on the radio today - a bit less rock perhaps, but passable as "new country" nonetheless. What distinguishes Brown is his unabashedly country voice,making his records a breath of fresh air while ensuring that they will never be radio hits. That's not to say that he doesn't have any catchy songs that deserve to be hits - "Too Lonely Too Long" and "Love Comes Easy" are both uptempo songs that Brown infuses with a high level of energy.

When the tempo slows, as on the pretty "There's No Song Like a Slow Song," he sings with a sweet, if thin voice. As enjoyable as this album is, however, it still doesn't compare to his masterpiece debut album, "High and Dry," where everything - the vocals, the instrumental tracks, the songs - had a raw, hillbilly intensity that was completely unique in country music.