Everyman Americana singer-songwriter is long on heart, short on ideas
Joel Henderson seems like a hell of a guy, personally, with his heart in the right place and a roster of very good musicians in his corner. His songs examine the everyday aches we all live with: lack of love, the shitty economy, growing up, and so on. Some songs are puro country, others (like the wide-open "Are We Running") are country-influenced AAA tunes. His voice is serviceable but not exceptional, and he'll never be accused of pretentiousness. Sadly, this just isn't enough to make this record anything near interesting. If he wants to open the doors and hop the fences that keep him out of wherever he wants to be, he needs to kick a little harder, reach a little higher, and not try so hard to be so damn nice and heartfelt and unpretentious. If all you ever aim for is the broad side of a barn, you'll never hit the moon.