January 15, 2009

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Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything
Mercury Nashville Records, Oct. 14, 2008

As with all genres, cowboy-pop is often overcooked by too many chefs dumping all sorts of extra effect-age into the gunk, all of which Billy Currington must have become well aware when he was conveyer-belted into the Shania Twain machine and selected to contribute the actual “country version” half of a duet with Twain on the song “Party for Two.” This goes toward his overall cred, I guess, which was already in good standing after the Platinum-selling success of his 2005 LP “Doin’ Something Right.”
As with his previous album, Currington co-wrote less than half of LBOE, his first partial contribution appearing at track three with the “Help Me Make It Through the Night”-spirited “Every Reason Not to Go,” as average a cowpunch tearjerker as you’d ever want. His strength, however — or that of his handlers, what have you — is digging up good songs, such as the frisky Rascal Flatts-like album opener “Swimmin’ in Sunshine” and its jam-band-inflected follow-up “Life & Love and the Meaning Of.” Currington may or may not be a Man-manufactured commodity, but the production is never overdone and the guest-written songs are all winners. B+ Eric W. Saeger