Album Review: John Rich – Son of a Preacher Man

Jim Malec | March 27th, 2009

John Rich As a member of Big & Rich, the self proclaimed “Cowbooy Stevie Wonder” (I have no idea what that supposedly means) has performed with a midget named Two Foot Fred dancing on stage beside him while featuring (on multiple tracks) Cowboy Troy, a black country rapper whose ice-cold rhymes (often in rudimentary Spanish) would have been lame in 1992. Indeed, John Rich is Nashville’s leading attention whore, an outspoken redneck populist with an addiction to self-serving publicity stunts such as his tenure as host of the incomprehensibly pointless CMT series “Gone Country.”

These examples amount to little more than the tip of the ridiculous John Rich iceberg, it’s generally difficult to see him as more than a weird sideshow attraction. That’s because John Rich is a weird sideshow attraction. He’s also one of country music’s best songwriters—when he chooses to be.

Much of the material on Big & Rich’s debut album Horse of a Different Color has to be considered among some of the best contemporary country of the decade, and elsewhere Rich has proven himself as a deft songsmith, especially in terms of melodic construction. Aside from his work on Horse, Rich was at the helm of, and a principal contributor to, John Anderson’s splendid 2007 disc Easy Money.

Unfortunately, Rich can also be one of country’s worst songwriters, prone to pandering and laziness. Further, as Rich’s career has progressed, his ego has grown exponentially and he has become increasingly self-aware and obsessed with constructing ideologically-founded music at the expense of high achievement. With Son of a Preacher Man, Rich attempts to brand himself as purveyor of everyman themes and common sense logic, but that thematic conceit forces his lyrical creativity into an unnecessarily limited arena where clichéd ideas overwhelm any actual poignancy that exists. Son of a Preacher Man is an album that tries too hard to fit a prescribed concept, and it’s all the worse because of it.

In Rich’s quest to relate to the Joe the Plumbers of the world, he boils his song ideas down to very basic levels, and the result is an album that probably sounds very good to those who haven’t heard very many country songs, but one that treads pedestrian on the ears of those who recognize that everything Rich says here has been said before. “Trucker Man,” for example, is a song seemingly constructed as if its intended audience has never heard any other songs about truckers. Rich capably describes a driver who works as hard as he can to get home as quickly as possible; it’s a well-detailed but prototypical song that serves as a prime example of exactly why Son of a Preacher Man falls flat.

The album contains no depth of thought. There is no color or character underlining these stories, and as a result the material here comes across as overly simplistic, especially when Rich slips into politico mode (on current hit “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” and “The Good Lord And The Man”), taking on a far-fetched blue-collar persona that feels strangely condescending. In both songs, the basis for Rich’s anger or frustration stems from comments he’s witnessed while watching the evening news, as if such topical sources as two minute news segments are the driving factor behind his audience’s world view. (Never mind that later on the album, on “Everybody Wants To Be Me,” Rich espouses his riches, declaring himself a country rock star and referring to his bling–which would seem to contradict the whole “regular guy” persona.)

Both “Detroit” and “Good Lord” dispense with any loyalty to fact or logic–particularly the latter song, which declares that if it wasn’t for the good lord and the man, “We’d all be speaking German, living under the flag of Japan,” which is simply a regurgitation of an ages-old soundbyte that ignores its own context. Certainly, had various events within WWII seen different outcomes, the global political landscape could look very different today. But the idea that “We’d all be speaking German, living under the flag of Japan” is problematic on so many levels that it’s hard to believe any artist–especially one as smart as Rich–would embrace it.

The rest of Son of a Preacher Man meanders between boring and rudimentary, never truly bad but seldom remarkable. Here Rich embraces a solidly country aesthetic that suits his voice well, and his singing is actually improved over previous efforts; there is considerably more color and soul shining through here then we’re used to hearing from him. Particularly, on “Why Does Somebody Always Have To Die” (an immeasurably atrocious lyric about…well, people dying—including Jesus), Rich shows off some surprisingly engaging chops.

As a whole, however, Son of a Preacher Man reads like a failed, unfocused concept album. Rich is capable of better than this, but only when his writing is unencumbered by the pretense and prescription that dominates this record.

2.5 Stars

Recommended Tracks: “I Thought You’d Never Ask.

  1. Paul W Dennis
    March 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    A bit harsh, Jim. I am not fan of the John Rich / Big & Rich / Muzak Mafia productions of the past
    (excepting the last John Anderson album), and John Rich isn’t a compelling vocalist but this album has some strong points. I think “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” is very on-target. Also a song you didn’t mention “Drive Myself To Drink” is outstanding – an excellent honky tonk lament disguised as a big band saloon song. I can easily hear this song in the hands of Frank Sinatra or modern day swingster Michael Andrew of Swingerhead.

    The rest of the album is very up and down but I do think that “Why Does Somebody Always Have To Die” is one of the more interesting lyrics I’ve heard in a while, if clumsily executed.

    One often forgets that John Rich was one of the original members of Lonestar and “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” sounds like the kind of song that Lonestar could have, at their peak, have made into a huge hit. I never was very impressed with Lonestar, but someone could make this song a big hit

    This isn’t a great album but I think it is worth 3.5 stars

  2. Paula_W
    March 27, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I havent heard this album – and likely never will, save whatever singles are released.

    But … overall, I think your comments on John as a songwriter echo my thoughts pretty well. I think that John is an exceptionally talented songwriter (and a pretty good singer), but I dont think he uses that talent to it’s full potential nearly often enough. I agree it’s probably part laziness, and part ego (more of the latter than the former).

    I enjoyed reading this review. I thought it was very fair, and maybe even gave John the benefit of the doubt in places.

  3. glory2001
    March 27, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I knew before I read it what your review would be saying. No surprise.

  4. Rick
    March 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I soooo can’t stand this guy I don’t expect to hear any song off this album ever! Ummm, did I ever mention that I really can’t stand this guy? I did however read this review and that’s about as close as I care to get to Nashville’s biggest self promoting pimp…

  5. CraigR.
    March 27, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I agree that John Rich has some talent- but once again an image is shaping the music. I think he could be a songwriter like Jimmy Webb if he took his time and really thought about who the real John Rich is. He is like that kid in school, who is really smart, but would rather have you like him than understand him( he shares that with a great many fellow singers in modern country music). He wants to be a performer more than a singer/songwriter. And there is the rub. The contributions that John Rich could make to country music are hindered by his desire to be liked- which only dilutes his best abilities.

  6. Drew
    March 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it yet, but I’m disappointed the 9513 would let someone who has a clear bias against Rich review the album…

  7. Rick
    March 27, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Drew, I don’t think there are any reviewers here at The 9513 that don’t have a personal bias against John Rich, and especially after the last Nashville Star debacle…..

  8. Leeann Ward
    March 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Drew,
    As I remember it, Jim pretty strongly defended Rich on this review, in the comment section:

    http://www.the9513.com/justin-moore-back-that-thing-up/

  9. Annie
    March 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I really like this CD. I love “Trucker Man” – I think it has an “Amarillo Sky” sound to it. I was really suprised by how much I liked this track. My favorite is definitely “Drive Myself To Drink”. His voice really shines on this one, it reminds me why I loved Big & Rich’s 1st CD. I wasn’t as impressed with the ballads. I thought this was a fair review by Jim Malec. I’d of given it 3 1/2 stars, though.

  10. Matt C.
    March 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    It’s hard for John Rich to get a fair shake these days.

    This is certainly a biased review. I question whether Jim should reviewing John’s music, because he clearly holds the man in a very low personal opinion and is occasionally guilty of projecting these opinions onto his assessment of Rich’s music. Certainly, parts of this review are irrelevant and mean-spirited.

    However, despite all of this, Jim holds it together. I do think that he gives a fair and discerning account of the music on this record. In fact, I expect that this is one of the only fair and intelligent reviews of this record that you will see. Mainstream publications will write their predictably obtuse reviews and most independent writers are too blinded by hate of Rich to write anything approaching a fair review. See, for example, the recent review from Slant’s Jonathan Keefe, a generally excellent critic, which can only be described as unprofessional: .

  11. Matt C
    March 27, 2009 at 10:26 pm
  12. idlewildsouth
    March 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I personally dont mind John Rich, and certainly agree that when he wants to be, he can be a top tier writer in town…but sadly he chooses not to be more than he chooses to be. As a whole, this album pretty much let me down. However, I do enjoy “The Good Lord and The Man”, but thats probably because im the audience he’s pandering to with it. :)

    Everyone keeps mentioning Jim’s obvious bias in this review, but I really dont see it. I was honestly expecting alot more snark than was here. I say a pretty fair review of this album.

  13. PaulaW
    March 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Everyone keeps mentioning Jim’s obvious bias in this review, but I really dont see it. I was honestly expecting alot more snark than was here.

    Ditto!

  14. Razor X
    March 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    See, for example, the recent review from Slant’s Jonathan Keefe, a generally excellent critic, which can only be described as unprofessional: .

    Isn’t this the same guy who trashed Martina’s Timeless CD and Faith’s Fireflies album? Neither of those reviews were very professional, either.

  15. Paul W Dennis
    March 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    The Jonathan Keefe review is a complete hatchet job, without any trace of objectivity . Jim’s review is merely harsh. There is a huge difference between the two

    One area where I differ from most reviewers is that I regard music, first and foremost, as entertainment. If a song fails on that level, I don’t care how profound or original is the song. If it fails as entertainment it fails, period.

    Truth be it, there is very little that truly can be said to be original

  16. Matt B
    March 28, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Paul W.,

    That has always been my contention with people who constantly argue for ‘originality’ or a lack of original ideas when listening to stuff.

    As for reviewing this product, I actually enjoyed the record on a basic entertainment level. The melodies were strong and aside from a few wonky lyrical places, the album was pretty good. This is a case where I was able to set aside my personal differences with the artist.

    I actually think Jim did as much with his review.

  17. Leeann Ward
    March 28, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Well, Jonathan may have trashed John Rich, but he also trashed the Dixie Chicks’ last album… So, there’s something for everyone.:)

  18. Leeann Ward
    March 28, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I just read Jonathan’s review. I was personally amused by it, but I understand the bias that people see and the offense John Rich fans might take to it. Personally, I think that as long as the bias isn’t hidden, it’s okay for reviews to be biased a bit. Now, if this album was a masterpiece or even close to one and Keaf still trashed it like this due to a personal bias against Rich, then there’d be a problem. But it really isn’t good and he said as much, albeit in colorful terms. I don’t think that many of us would complain if it was a RF review that he’d written like this…or a Lost Trailers review…but this album is just as bad as those, except Rich can sing a little better than RF (though he clearly sounds better with Big Kenny than on his own).

  19. Leeann Ward
    March 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Sorry for the tripple posts.

    I’ll just add that I haven’t read the Faith Hill or Martina McBride reviews referenced above. So, I don’t know why those were trashed, since I think both were fine.

  20. dothanal
    March 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    i bought the CD last night and listened to it today during a torrential downpour. i enjoyed it and found it to be very personal (just as he said). while a few are not songs, but poetry in motion, i appreciate someone like John Rich that speaks his mind, like it or lump it. i liked it. i found the last song to be fun and a fitting tribute to someone he admires.

  21. Leeann Ward
    March 28, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Where does “like it or lump it” come from anyway. My dad says it a lot and it always drove me crazy.

  22. nm
    March 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it comes from an obsolete meaning of “lump,” “to look sulky.” See: http://www.askoxford.com:80/concise_oed/lump_2?view=uk

    There are citations of “lump it” from as early as 1833.

  23. Erik
    March 28, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Here’s the Faith review:
    http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=613

    and here’s the Martina review:
    http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=681

    It’s hard to take Keefe seriously when he writes reviews like that.

  24. Steve Harvey
    March 28, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    The prose style is a little over the top, but I’m not sure I disagree with the substance of either of those reviews…

  25. Razor X
    March 29, 2009 at 8:32 am

    You think Timeless was a one-and-a-half star album? Or that Fireflies deserved no stars? I’m not a Faith fan, but a no-star rating should be reserved for exceptionally bad albums. Fireflies may not be my cup of tea, but it doesn’t deserve that kind of rating.

  26. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Yeah, those reviews were even harsh for my taste (even the Rich review upon further reflection and a second read). I’m thinking “slant” was a purposeful name for Slant Magazine though. His style is definitely engaging, I’ll say that for him.

    I don’t love the Faith album, but it certainly wasn’t nearly as bad as the the review made it seem. The same goes for the Martina album, though Keefe did explain some of my problems with the album in more colorful terms than I would have used. Counting the three reviews posted on this thread, I’ve only read five of Keefe’s reviews. He more than crushed the Dixie Chicks album too, which wasn’t my favorite thing to read for sure. So, I can understand why people would be upset by these reviews. He certainly makes The9513 and Country Universe seem tame.:)

  27. Paul W Dennis
    March 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    His take on NAKED WILLIE was bizarre

    http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/music_review.asp?ID=1679

    “whitewash” ??

    He did write more favorable reviews of Paisley’s PLAY and Wynonna’s SING – CHAPTER 1 than I’ve typically seen written. My basic thought on Keefe is that he’s not really a big fan of country music

  28. Occasional Hope
    March 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

    The most bizarre thing about the Faith Hill review was the the reason he alleges for her changing her hair colour. Not only is it quite a ridiculous thing to suggest, but also he seems to be colour blind.

  29. Josh
    March 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I have a conflicted interests in John himself. One the one hand he tends to know what he’s talking about since he had serious up and down multiple times that I think he deserves the recognition that he so craves in terms of persistence and paid off work. However, I also think that his ego should get a doctor check because compared to Brad Paisley and Keith Urban (two very stellar and outstanding musician/performance/artist) John nowhere matches the capability of the two and maybe it’s wrong for me to compare him to these two but I’d like to point out that BP and KU are waaaay more humble about their status and stardom…particularly KU. Not once have I seen KU’s ego get in the way of his fans other than to just have fun.

  30. nm
    March 29, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Occasional Hope, you didn’t notice how Hill got more blonde with each album as she went more pop, and was a brunette again as a signifier for returning to her country roots? It was hard to miss, even while the first part of it (getting more blonde) was happening. I used to joke that you could put her albums in chronological order by looking at her hair color.

  31. Annie
    March 29, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I thought the Faith Hill review was strange. He’s obviously not a fan of country music. I can’t find any merit in a review that talks about an artists hair color. He seems very disconnected from the genre. Maybe he should just stick to what he knows. I’ll take a Malec review anyday. Not that I agree with Malec’s opinions on everything, because I don’t. But I’m pretty sure I can count on Jim for an honest review from someone who knows and loves the genre. My bottom line is this – If you don’t know your s*** – don’t try to pass it on to me – I’m not buying it. Keefe is probably loving this….

  32. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    It’s kind of unfair to suggest that people who write negative reviews, even very negative ones, aren’t country music fans. I know Keefe is a country music fan; he visits Country Universe pretty regularly and shows a good knowledge of the genre. There are plenty of reviewers with whom I vehemently disagree, but I don’t go down the road of thinking they arent fans of the genre; I simply think they don’t appreciate certain factions of it, which is fine. To disagree with how a review is approached is one thing, but to dismiss a reviewer by saying that he’s not a fan seems like retaliation. There’s plenty of country music that I will be very negative about, but I’d have a real problem with someone suggesting that I’m not a fan because of it.

  33. Annie
    March 29, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I’m sorry Leeann. Retaliation was not my intention. I’m not in the habit of “dismissing” other peoples opinions.

  34. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Annie,
    No need for apology. I actually apologize for being so forceful/firm. I probably get a little defensive because I’ve had to write so many negative reviews lately and I’d hate for people to think I’m not a country music fan as a result.

  35. Occasional Hope
    March 29, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    NM: Trisha Yearwood and Lee Ann Womack have also got blonder over time, and that doesn’t seem to follow their changes in musical style. Whiile Faith’s increasingly artifical look could be construed to match her increasingly artificial look rather than merely a fashion choice (which frankly I think *much* more likely, and I’m not even a Faith fan to any degree), I think it’s a little bit of a stretch to then go on to argue that her choice of hair colour was down to copying other successful singers in the hope that that would lead to her own singles getting played, which is what the review in question insinuates. (Quite aside from the technical fact that he women he suggest Faith was copying didn’t even all have the same hair colour, which makes the whole thing completely ridiculous and why I suggested he was colour blind.)

  36. Annie
    March 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Leeann – note taken. I guess we all get fired up about the the things we love. I appreciate your obvious passion for country music. I’m pretty passionate about it too! ;)

  37. Kelly
    March 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I have no issue with a review being as bad or odd or negative as the reviewer feels it needs to be. I feel the same the other way around also. I have never quite understood the lines that certain people draw when it comes to “professional” or “objective” reviews. If the reviewer thinks that a certain ablum or song is absolute trash, tell me why and maybe I’ll learn something, be entertained or both. It’s all about the case that is not just simply made, but supported beyond the initial claim. Keefe’s review on Rich’s album is totally fine with me, even as he is really hateful towards Rich and the album, but I feel he provides actual eamples as to why he feels a certain way.

  38. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I agree, Kelly, there will always be some bias or subjectivity to reviews; otherwise, they’re simply press releases, which I find completely boring.

  39. Stormy
    March 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    John Rich does have a hard time getting a break, but John Rich did that to himself. Its almost like he wants to be the unremittant a-hole judge-me-for-my-work artist ala Jack White, Russell Crowe, Shelby Lynne or Ryan Adams without the work to back it up. Because you CAN do that, but you have to have the work to back it up–you have to put out a Suit Yourself or an Easy Tiger with every album. As Russell Crowe has shown us, when you start putting out A Good Year’s, you have to start smiling a lot and signing autograpghs.

  40. Kelly
    March 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Also Stormy – the artists you mentioned arent on TV every chance they get, nor would any of them likely participate in MULTIPLE reality tv shows. When you are such an obvious media-whore, you cant pull the “judge me by my artistry” card with even a modicum of effectivness…

  41. Jon
    March 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    “there will always be some bias or subjectivity to reviews; otherwise, they’re simply press releases, which I find completely boring.”

    Boy, I don’t agree with that at all. For one thing, press releases are biased pretty much by definition.

  42. nm
    March 29, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Occasional Hope, if Yearwood and Womack had gone blonde exactly at the time they were actively courting crossover success by removing many of the more countryish elements from their music, and had changed their hair color back at exactly the time they put those elements back and recorded songs about how they’d always been downhome, I’d laugh at them, too. People change their hair color and style for all sorts of different reasons, and it seemed pretty clear to a lot of people (including me, and I’m enough of a fan of Faith Hill to own some of her albums) that in Hill’s case, some of the reasoning in the change back to brown hair was to signify a return to the “real her.” I don’t think it’s bizarre to discuss stuff like that. I thought it was a shame to have a review that was nothing but a review of signifiers, but, um, in this case it was pretty well deserved.

  43. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Jon, I’m not exactly surprised that you disagree with me, but you’ve got a point that press releases from artists’ camps are definitely biased. I guess I should have used a different example. I’ll come back when I think of it. I still stand by the first part of my comment though.

  44. Occasional Hope
    March 29, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    “some of the reasoning in the change back to brown hair was to signify a return to the “real her.””

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that, which is at least an arguable point, but the review we’ve been debating took it a step farther, imo, in a statement I can still only see as risible – that the specific colour chosen was to copy several other artists (who don’t even *have* the same hair colour).

  45. Stormy
    March 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Kelly: But Ryan Adams on a Denise Richards style reality show would be awesome.

  46. Razor X
    March 29, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    People change their hair color and style for all sorts of different reasons, and it seemed pretty clear to a lot of people (including me, and I’m enough of a fan of Faith Hill to own some of her albums) that in Hill’s case, some of the reasoning in the change back to brown hair was to signify a return to the “real her.”

    As I recall, Faith was always rather blonde up until the Fireflies album, when her hair was much darker. Patty Loveless was also blonde in the 1980s. She changed her hair color around 1992 when her final album for MCA, Up Against My Heart was released. Nowadays her hair is much more red than brunette, but I’ve never heard anyone associate that her hair color had any correlation to her musical choices.

  47. Rick
    March 30, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Stormy, now that Ryan Adams is married to Mandy Moore, I’d like to watch that reality show too! (lol)

    Most reviews consist of both objective analysis and subjective opinion and hopefully the readers have enough brains to tell the difference. Ooops, I forgot about all those folks who voted for Obama…

  48. nm
    March 30, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Razor X, you’re not remembering Hill’s album covers right, then.

  49. Erik
    March 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Faith was a red-head during her “It Matters To Me” photoshoot. After that, she was a blonde up until “Fireflies”.

  50. nm
    March 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    But she wasn’t the same blonde. Each album she was a little lighter.

  51. andrew
    March 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    where’s big kenny? he is the best, and i know he has stuff brewing…

  52. Erik
    March 31, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Faith’s hair was platinum blonde on the cover of her “Faith” album. On both “Breathe” and “Cry”, it was more of a yellow-ish blonde.

  53. Bobby P.
    April 1, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Is it just me, or has his voice gotten way softer? Listen to “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” and then, say, “Heartbroke Every Day”, and it’s hard to tell it’s even the same guy.

  54. Danielle
    April 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I love John Rich’s new album, my favorite song is ‘Shuttin Detroit Down’ I recently went to look for it on youtube and came across another great video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl6zcW2dOo4. Yall will enjoy this a lot!

  55. Nadia
    April 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    ok, well it was bordering on excruciating to read that review…for one I think that Jim already had a strong personal opinion about John Rich before writing this article, which affected it alot. I also strongly disagree with what he says. Sure he may come across as a bit of a show-off but doesn’t he deserve it? Does anybody have any idea what it took for John to get to where he is? Yes I agree, he does make mistakes…but don’t we all? He admits the whole Nahsville Star thing was a mistake, but he didn’t know what it would be like when he got started. I think that one thing that keeps John grounded is his love for America, an incredibly strong patriotic love that he expresses in what he does. Personally I like that we have someone like that in the Country industry, he’s speaking out for blue collar people, and before you say anything about what he knows about that kind of stuff just read Big & Rich All-Access it will tell you. You mentioned that writing “Shuttin’ Detroit Down” because he saw headlines he didn’t like on tv. Well what are you doing? Your JR bashing seems to be on the platform of recent headlines about him and what you’ve seen on tv…go figure. If you can do that, then he can write a song that way

  56. Doug Adkins
    April 30, 2009 at 10:22 am

    ok, i had to listen to it 4 or 5 times before I started to really appreciate it… now it’s in the top 4 or 5 albums of the last few years for me… he grew up a rootsy guy and this is back to it… it’s honest, it grooves, it’s real… i’ve recorded 7 albums myself and written well over 200 songs and i think this album is a gem… Granted, it’s different, and much different than what we think of for John Rich (ie… big & rich)… pe patient with it before u squelch out an opinion… I may be wrong, but I think time will tell the story, as it always does with music… And for the comment on the cliche writing… call it that if you like, but the way John delivers the songs, I have to think he has a personal relationship to them … and that in my opinion is the difference between cliche and real… but we’ll see…

  57. James Dills
    July 10, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I graduated High School with this asshole (rich), and his music still sucks.

  58. FeFe
    May 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Wait, you say John Rich is pandering and feeding pablum to the unwashed masses? How elitist of you. And that would be “problematic,” as you say, for your professional reputation along with this web site.

    How you could recognize JR sings of love, a unifying theme — love of country, family, fellow man, faith, a good woman, music, life, love itself — and not feel it, may speak more to your job bias of a salesman than as a connoisseur, or zut alors, a fan. Actual music consumption need not conform to any preconceived notion or promotion packaging. I love the album. I love the feeling from the album even more.

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  • Josh Kelly - Georgia Clay
  • The Gibson Brothers - Help My Brother
  • jesse-brewster_wrecking-ball
  • Lucinda Williams - Blessed
  • Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers - Hymns from the Hills