Title - 'Cannonball' (BNA Ent.)
Artist - Pat Green
Pat Green has always been something of an anomaly in the music world. Too country for people who don't like country, but full of enough folk/rock grit to turn off hardcore country fans. Green has made his name largely through word-of-mouth and his energetic live shows. He's also released 3 very solid studio albums (with a handful of popular tunes getting played on CMT) and a few independent-label records. For CANNONBALL, it seems Green decided to try something a little different. Virtually gone are the raucous beer-drinkin', hell-raising story songs that were the hallmark of his earlier albums. In their place, we have a more mature, reflective (though, happily, never too somber) Pat Green. He still doesn't mine telling you about his checkered past--in "Love Like That" he refuses to judge a group of rowdy kids in a parking lot, because he knows he and his buddies were the same way--but he's also thankful for the love of a good woman to keep him on the right track. This theme resonates throughout CANNONBALL; and while it's not groundbreaking in terms of the songwriting, Green sings with such conviction that he can almost make the cliches seem fresh. The duet with Sara Evans, "Finders Keepers" is also a highlight, although the always-powerful Evans threatens to overwhelm her host at times. "I'm Trying to Find It" would be at home on a Bob Seger album. "Virginia Belle" is classic Pat Green, as he fumbles over the right way to introduce himself to a lovely lady. . .only to let the moment slip away. And of course, the first single, "Feels Just Like It Should," simply soars. In fact, it perfectly encapulates the album's theme, although none of the other tracks do it with quite such gusto. Like John Mellencamp (whose frequent producer, Don Gehman, produced Cannonball), Pat Green makes dependable, occasionally great heartland music. It's a fine progression of an artist who probably still hasn't reached his peak.