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Randy Montana (Mercury Nashville, 2011)

Randy Montana

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

Randy Montana didn't have to go far from home to learn how to craft a song. His father is Nashville songwriter Billy Montana, who has written hits for the likes of Garth Brooks and Sara Evans. It seems his father taught him well; his debut album is full of radio-friendly, guitar-driven country. Montana's got a raspy, rough-edged voice, and the characters he writes match it well.

Ain't Much Left of Lovin' You was released last year and inched into the Top 40. A man's broken-hearted rumination on the traces left behind by a broken marriage, it has plenty of details but stops short of being just another endless list song. Assembly Line is firmly in the proud-to-be-a-working-man vein, but rather than the usual glossy view of small town life, it offers a more urban take on a blue collar job. There's gossip, unhappy co-workers and the repetitiveness of doing the same task day after day. And still, you come away with the sense of pride in doing the job.

Burn These Matches isn't a cheating song, rather it's about a man who realizes how easy it would be to start down what would be a hard road. The stand out track is Last Horse, featuring Emmylou Harris on harmonies, and covering the thoughts of a man who is simultaneously trying to save his troubled marriage and protect himself from its end.

This is a strong debut, filled with relatable characters facing problems and coping as well as they can.

CDs by Randy Montana

Randy Montana, 2011

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