ALBUM REVIEW

James Lann
HONKY TONK KUNG FU
©2010 Ari Tex Records
ATR42203
Review by Lucky Boyd
Co-Founder, MyTexasMusic.com

From the opening note, you can tell this release is going to be something special.  Lann opens with “Every Kiss Goodnight,” a co-write with Gary Leach that sets the tone for the album, truly Texan, with powerful rocky overtones that frame today’s popular country music.  Another fine production out of Rosewood Studios, Lann’s release holds its own next to anything being offered from Nashville these days.  A part of the writing on but three cuts, Lann has focused on delivering a flawless performance of songs authored by a host of talented composers and has hit the target.  Lann’s voice is prime for Top 40 country without shedding his Texas roots and the picker list reads like a who’s who of amazing musicians.  “Heaven Ain’t The Place To Be” is destined to be just one of the hits from this record.  Any song that mentions all the greats who have passed on will draw attention, but this one extends the story and is a homerun all the way.  The title cut is another co-write and works on many levels.  Everyone needs a silly song, but few are as well structured and expertly performed as this.  It’s another on the list of songs that have the potential of becoming national hits.  I’ve mentioned before that James Lann scores a 96 on the Boyd Success Scale.  I truly believe that an excellent follow-up album is one of the 100 things required for success.  Thus, Lann’s score is now 97.  His sophomore release is full of evidence that this career is headed in the right direction.  The heartfelt ballad of the disc is “Back On Track,” a James Lann composition that will be a favorite of radio and fans as well.  You’ll be treated to some bonus tracks on this disc and they’re worth the price of the album.  The last of the three is a real treat, especially if you have been following the Texas Music Awards for the past few years.  Speaking of the TMAs, Lann was a nominee in the 2010 system.  Don’t be surprised if you see him there again in 2011.