A pedestrian country set
Nashville native Jerry Castle’s country stylings are neither vigorous enough to be consistently compelling, nor saccharine enough to be dismissibly cloying. Instead he treads a fairly rote middle ground with jangly guitars, chirping keyboards, fiddle and mandolin embellishments, and gravel-tinged vocals. It’s all innocuous enough, only occasionally reaching for something more. Leadoff tune “Charades”, with its snappy tempo, wah-wah pedal and oh-lonesome-me me sentiment, launches the record promisingly. Album standout “Getting There” combines an edgy guitar line with Castle’s trembling tenor to good effect, while “In A Song” closes out the record sweetly and wistfully. Too much of the rest, though, consists of dreary platitudes; songs like “Back Side of Down” and “Life Gets Better as it Goes” are about as hackneyed as the titles suggest. There are some good songs mixed in, but Castle’s songwriting potential is inversely proportional to his inability to shrug off the easy conventions of mainstream, middle-of-the-road country music.