Much like his career, Jason Michael Carroll's latest offering, "Numbers," is a collection of hits and misses. The album, which is being offered exclusively through Cracker Barrel retail outlets, pairs the rich timbre that shot the long-haired Texan to the top of the country charts (his first album went to number 1, and his second charted in the Top 10) with material that is often less than top drawer. There's little of the soul and personal touch that made songs from previous albums, like Hurry Home
and Where I'm From,
The best song is Alyssa Lies, which is offered here as a bonus track, but doesn't really count (as it was originally released on JMC's first CD and is probably his most recognizable hit). The title track is pretty good, a commentary on the numbers that fill our lives - some useless, some extremely meaningful. It's reminiscent of Chris Cagle's Top 5 hit What a Beautiful Day, which told a lovely story using numbers; Carroll's song doesn't hang together nearly so well, leaving the singer sounding a bit like an auctioneer.
This album is at its best when it pairs the deep, rich tones of JMC's voice with lonely songs, notably the album opener, the up-tempo This is for the Lonely, and the melancholy-sweet Stray. Jason Michael Carroll is back, and this album is pretty good, but he's still got a little ways to go.