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Jason Michael Carroll

Waitin' in the Country – 2007 (Arista)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Jason Michael Carroll

It seems like now is the time for country vocalists with deep, rich voices to be heard, and Jason Michael Carroll will certainly be heard. Versatility and passion are the traits that best serve his sometimes rumbling vocals.

Carroll took a step away from his North Carolina fundamentalist upbringing to make the secular music forbidden at home. That act of rebellion isn't lost in his music as it burns across songs with social implications, like the first single (and hit) off his album, "Alyssa Lies," a touching piece about what happens when nobody intervenes into a child abuse situation.

But he's far from politically active on most of his songs. He borrows from rocker Warren Zevon's idea for "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead." He also shares vocal work with Jewel for one of the highlights, "No Good in Goodbye," which also has a Jewel shared songwriting credit. The disc, produced by Don Gehman, best known for his work with John Mellencamp, has country roots with a dash of rock attitude and presentation. Not a bad debut at all.