Daryle Singletary

There's Still a Little Country Left – 2015 (TMF X 4LLC)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

The latest from Daryle Singletary sounds like it could have been recorded in his mid-'90s heyday. He remains in fine voice, but some tracks suffer from overproduction. A recurring theme is Singletary's disdain for the current country music scene. The opening "Get Out of My Country" is not the anti-immigration anthem the title suggests, but a denunciation of those he perceives as musical interlopers ("If you came to Twang Town just for the money/Then pack it up son/Get out of my country"), with shout outs to heroes such as Waylon Jennings, Keith Whitley and Hank Williams.

"Too Late to Save the World" starts off with some political commentary ("Washington's just going through the motions/The Middle East is going up in smoke") before Singletary reveals his true concern ("Maybe I'm just talking crazy/I think together we can do this/It may be too late for the world/But can't we still save country music?"). Similarly the title track extols the virtue of traditional country music ("As long as there's a tavern that still serves beer ice cold/Some kid up on a hardwood stage pouring out his soul/With that old guitar strapped across his chest/There's still a little country left").

The ballad "Say Hello to Heaven" is a moving tale of dealing with the death of a loved one ("I'm doing everything I can/To face the truth and take this like a man") while letting go of anger ("Tell Jesus we're not mad/We just miss you so much/Please ask him when he comes back to take us where you are/And ask him to forgive the man in that other car"). Unfortunately Singletary's voice gets buried in the mix, as it does in "Spilled Whiskey" and "Wanna Be That Feeling."

Another questionable choice is "I'm the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised," which features Singletary in a faked duet with Johnny Paycheck that pales in comparison to the real version by Paycheck. Despite the occasional misstep, this collection should appeal to fans of mainstream '90s country.