Black Music Matters Festival

Joe Diffie, Samny Kershaw, Aaron Tippin

All in the Same Boat – 2013 (Red Distribution)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Joe Diffie, Samny Kershaw, Aaron Tippin

Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin likely recorded this collection of both old and new songs simply to have new merch to sell on the road while touring together. And while it may be a pretty obvious commercial ploy, the music created together also holds up particularly well.

Things don't get off to all that great a start, though, with a stripped down arrangement of Tippin's annoying hit, Kiss This near the beginning. However, the proceedings get a whole lot better with a subsequent cover of Heart of Gold. This Harvest-era Neil Young song may have been the individualistic singer/songwriter's biggest solo hit, but it was also written when he was still quite young (no pun intended). Yet the song's lyric suggests a lifetime search for true, soulful sincerity, so to hear it from these three older country veterans, it just carries so much more emotional weight.

Heart of Gold was an excellent cover choice, but some of this recording's other covers aren't quite as memorable. Hearing three country boys sing The Way You Look Tonight may be good fun in the live setting, but its studio version comes off a little blah. Similarly, On and On was one of those nagging radio songs that made one immediately change the station back during the dull '70s soft-rock days, and really should have been left back in those dusty record bins of radio history.

Although some of these song choices may leave something to be desired, there's no faulting the singing. These boys still sing awfully well. So as boat trips go, this is pretty doggone good little cruise.