Daryle Singletary

Straight from the Heart – 2007 (Shanachie)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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That country music ain't what it used to be is not exactly a new Idea - it seems like every country singer has at least one name-checking tribute to Jones, Haggard, et al. in their catalog. But Daryle Singletary delivers his take on the theme, "I Still Sing This Way," with such obvious good humor that it feels fresh. He then backs up that sentiment with an album leaving no doubt about his sincerity. He covers tunes from the aforementioned Jones ("These Days I Barely Get By") and Haggard ("Bottle Let Me Down"), as well as Hank Thompson ("Lovin' on Back Streets") and Buck Owens ("I've Got a Tiger by the Tail"). He also mines the '80s New Traditionalist movement for songs by Keith Whitley ("Miami, My Amy") and Randy Travis ("Promises") and a duet with John Anderson on Anderson's own "Black Sheep."

There's no genre-bending or re-envisioning happening here; no attempt, as they say on the reality shows, to "make the songs his own." Instead, Singletary delivers straightforward, respectful versions of classic songs. His traditional vocal style makes the songs seem old again, but, in this case, old is good.