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Calvin Richardson fancies himself a cowboy. The album abounds with pictures of Richardson topless with his rippling biceps, pierced nipples, and leather cowboy hat, but that’s about as country as it gets. There is nary an echo of Cash, Haggard, Cline, Garth Brooks, or even Billy Ray Cyrus anywhere on Country Boy. Most of the songs here (with a respectable six out of 13 written by Richardson, who also played guitar on a couple) are straight-up R&B, featuring guests like K-Ci Hailey, Monifah, and the lovable Chico De Barge. None of them are particularly memorable, with the exception of the title track which features earnest lyrics like “It was the time I spent on the tractor, plowin’ in the fields/I believe in working from sun up to down/like any man I need a good woman to settle down.” Hey, you can’t knock the guy for trying.

With his combination of model/bodybuilder looks and fashion sense, perhaps this urban good ol’ boy will have the (mutton) chops someday to fuse actual country music with contemporary R&B. Although that combination sounds as interesting to me as doing time inside Attica, the voices of the voiceless still need to be heard, and that’s where Richardson’s quest begins.


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