John David Kent

Roustabout

Mainstream country music is certainly in need of a soulful revival. North Texas' John David Kent and his backing band, The Dumb Angels, just hope that they're the ones leading it.

They've got a chance, actually: Sure, the former Radish drummer's latest, self-titled album has a reworked, revved-up version of "My Girl," the tune that has long caught the ears of country radio programmers all over the state. But it isn't the only track that could easily fit onto a station's playlist these days. Cuts such as "A Place to Call Home" and "Lover Undercover" are unique, contemporary-sounding tracks that fit the modern country radio format, even with Jason Andrew's expert fiddle dancing forcefully as a lead instrument.

Yes, it's the well-polished, catchy appeal of these tunes that gives the record its sparkle. But numbers like the gospel-stomping "Down to the Water" and the slowed-down, organ-enriched "In the Promise Land" lend the album some visceral substance, too.

Overall, the wide-range of tempos and the sonic scope of the album prevent it from being terribly cohesive. But that's no drawback. The most successful revivals always have broad appeal.

 
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