Picks and Pans Review: Brand New Me
John Michael Montgomery (Atlantic)
His hearty voice and fervent if vaguely humorless style are still evident, but there does seem to be a “new,” more thoughtful John Michael at work here, as the 35-year-old country vocalist reflects on his childhood, children and career. There is even the socially conscious “The Little Girl,” which recalls Suzanne Vega’s morbid “Luka,” touching on drug abuse and murder-suicide. The somewhat somber tone is relieved, fortunately, by such lively tracks as “Weekend Superstar,” which evokes the days when Montgomery’s career consisted of gigs at the local tavern.
Bottom Line: Introspective but not dreary