Big Kenny Alphin's first solo project since joining forces with John Rich, can be accurately described as a grower - and that's not just because the CD comes in a paper jewel case that can actually be planted to grow flowers. While certain songs, especially Be Back Home
and Share the Love
, have immediate appeal, the album as a whole is best appreciated after many spins. As one would expect from a guy who has made "Love Everybody" his rallying cry, the peace and love flow freely on the album, and while some of it feels a bit flaky, lines like (on Less Than Whole
) - "There ain't nothing like forgiveness to resurrect a broken soul/It's even better to give than to get it/I've been forgiven, so I should know" - seem to flow from some serious life experience.
Alphin takes some risks, and these don't always pan out. Drifter sounds like Jack White on a bad day. But sometimes they do, especially To Find a Heart, which has the lovely laid-back feel of the best 1970's Eagles-style rockabilly. The 11th track, The Whole Experience, is in fact a replay of the entire album, but with the weirdo shout outs and segues that set a typical Big and Rich album apart - one gets the feeling that if Big Kenny had his way, this would have been the only version of the album released. All in all, a very nice effort, although one does miss those sweet, sweet harmonies with John Rich.