Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.
Houston native Darrell Goldman spent his college years collecting songwriting honors at Berklee College of Music in Boston before returning to the Lone Star State, where he attended Dallas Theological Seminary and earned a master's degree. Before settling into his first album, Goldman performed at festivals around Texas and worked as a worship leader in various churches, all the while honing his songwriting craft and sharpening his musical talent.
Goldman's first full-length album shows off his considerable ability to deliver straight-ahead country music. Fiddle player Kurt Baumer and steel player Kim Deschamps kick off "Lookin' for Love" with some get-out-of-your-seat licks and runs in a tune that blends the melodies of Billy Currington's "Pretty Good at Drinking Beer" with the joyous melody of the old Humble Pie chestnut "Hallelujah, I Love Her So." Close your eyes and you can imagine either Currington or Brad Paisley singing this song.
Strains of Southern country rock, especially The Outlaws classic "Green Grass and High Tides Forever," permeate "Gypsy Rose" as David Grissom's stinging leads wind around Goldman's driving voice. Deschamps turns in another winning steel scamper on the country rocker "Point of No Return"; this song would be right in place on a Pure Prairie League album. The highlight is "Between the Lines," a gospel-tinged ballad that weaves around the old Saturday night/Sunday morning conundrum at the center of so much country music. It's a haunting song about the choices we make and the powerful struggles we face making them: "She's been on the road that's straight and narrow/only the good lord knows where it'll lead in time/with both hands on the wheel she's still a believer/but she don't do well staying in between the lines."
Austin-based singer and songwriter Goldman has made his bed, wrapped himself in the sheets of traditional country music, and with this album ought to quite content to lie in that bed he's made.