Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Cynics could quickly dismiss Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell by lumping him with the American Idols winners - great voices, but not much meat on the hoof.And they would be dead wrong because Jewell's voice, song selection and country roots come through loud and clear on his major label debut. Jewell has been kicking around Music city for a decade, making a living as a demo singer. Potential deals came and went, but thanks to TV, Jewell earned himself a record deal with Clint Black producing.
The process was a rush job supreme from picking songs to recording to getting the CD out. But while only recording for five days, this does not sound like the clock was ticking at all. Jewell, who wrote 3 of the 11 songs, knows his way around a country song, perhaps never more so than his great duet with fellow Nashville Star performer Miranda Lambert on "Today I Started Loving You Again" from Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens. The easy going "Sweet Southern Comfort" work quite well. Fortunately, Black and Jewell did not change what he is about - pretty hard country - by opting for a softer, more radio friendly sound. Fiddle, harmonica, acoustic guitar and mandolin are key parts of the musical mix. And in getting the best out of A list musicians, Black has achieved the type of album he might well record himself.
"You know I'm not sure you actually look like a star" says Jewell on the lively roadhouse opener "I Wanna Thank Everyone." Maybe at 42, he isn't a pretty boy, but who cares? This is an artist whose perseverance wasn't for naught for this guy filled with meat.