David Brim, aka Rowdy McCarran, signals via his black Stetson hat, colorful shirt, tattooed forearm and black leather pants with a chain hanging from his right hip what he's all about in the cover photo. He delivers just the kind of music we would expect – mostly pulsating radio-friendly tunes, yet he does surprise with a few ballads. He sings about the most common of themes – love and lost love in its various shades and moods through a hard hat lens.
McCarran is a vocalist, and rather obviously a showman (the album was recorded in Las Vegas no less), who relies on songwriter, producer and arrange Rob Hegel. McCarran helped write one of the 11 songs. Hegel recruited a solid crew of backing musicians replete with pedal steel, fiddle and mandolin. Background vocalists grace some of the material and McCarran duets with Chandiss on "Better Than This."
The first single, the catchy opener "I Drink" is as ready made for airplay as any tune here with the narrator resorting to the bottle to wash away, at least temporarily, the lingering thoughts of a lost love, the age-old theme we've heard ad infinitum. Nonetheless, it's a singalong tune that's memorable and sets the stage.
McCarran's rich tenor and natural instincts for both melody and emotion come into clearer focus on the hook filled "Do You Ever Think of Me?" The fiddle driven "Little Bit of Love" is an upbeat two stepper while the standout "Just As I Am" reveals McCarran as a strong balladeer as does the slow dancing gem "The Man Who Stands By You," with its weeping pedal steel gorgeously framing his comforting, heartfelt vocal.
Other highlights include the confessional duet "Better Than This," and the most interesting tale, the deeply sad "Every Mother's Day," where a young mother gives up her daughter too soon, thus spending her time wondering just how the daughter made her way through the world.
So, the age-old adage of "don't judge the book by the cover" comes into play. While many of the tunes are the kind we've heard countless times, McCarran delivers the goods on these emotive ballads.