Black Music Matters Festival

Chris Cagle

Anywhere But Here – 2005 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Chris Cagle

Chris Cagle is still trying to find that sense of purpose that served him so well on his debut CD "Play It Loud," and that seemed to elude his grasp on his self-titled sophomore release. Not to read too much of a personal statement into lyrics but on the title song and "When I Get There" (which is almost the same exact song), he admits he has no idea where he's going.

So using the scattershot approach, Cagle none-too-convincingly mines Montgomery Gentry territory with "You Might Want to Think About It," wherein he promises a "butt-whipping" to whoever it is trying to take his Ten Commandments away and tell him to turn down his radio. "Hey Y'all" is another redneck party song. (Just what the world needed.) And the cover of Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" can only be described as a good try.

Even when he succeeds, it feels like an accident. He tries to be tender with the single "Miss Me Baby," but although it sounds like a love song, with its attempted "insomnia and sexual frustration" hex on an ex, it's actually one of the more interesting - albeit vindictive - ballads to be found on the radio. The high school nostalgia of "Wal-Mart Parking Lot" is the only track that can be called an unqualified success.

By the way, this CD is being marketed as "copy-protected" but don't let that discourage you from buying it - the music itself is good enough rationale for that.