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You have to admire a songwriter who admits that an Otis Redding song “got him to thinkin’” about where he belongs. Rodney Parker does just that in “Drive Away,” arguably the best cut from his 2004 release “BLOW THE SOOT OUT.” The monster moguls in Nashville continually bark about how ‘diversity’ is a no-no on a break-out release. I tend to agree that all too often songwriters put out a CD with the intent of proving every trick they can perform. Parker, however, has taken it to a new level and set the benchmark for all who come after him. Rodney Parker’s release is indeed diverse, in that it has ballads, rockers, well-written stories, and an all out instrument-fest. But there are two key ingredients that make this album one of the best I’ve heard so far this year. First, there’s creativity. If you cheat yourself by listening to just the clips, you might think Parker is nipping at the creative heels of Morrow, Green, or Ragweed. But listening to each cut in its entirety shows Parker’s creative genius. There is at least one element in every single track of this album that nobody else has tried. Each song has some little creative twist, rather vocally, with candid recording, or musically, that makes every song a gem. Performed by a lesser demonstration, each song might fall flaccid into the mire of countless songs about grass growing or driving cars, but Parker’s true creativity in delivering innovative lyrics with incredible timing makes this a true treasure. Second, Parker has a sound. Yeah, a sound. I’ve often advised young artists to develop a sound that is different than anyone they’ve ever heard, but too many of them want to sound like Robert Earl Keen or Roger Creager. No, not Parker. He has taken the reins of the very pony that made REK and others famous and ridden it to the next town. Man, you just hope it was the right Otis Redding song, because Parker spends no time “watchin’ the tide roll away.” We wanted the exclusive on this one, but didn’t get it. The good news is, you won’t find it on the Internet for less. Get it today!
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