Dean Dillon: Out of Your Ever Lovin\' Mind (1994) MP3/Flac

In the early '90s, Dean Dillon was exalted as a representative of neo-traditionalism in country, meaning that he was one of the artists allegedly fighting to return country to its down-home, honky tonk roots after so many years of Nashville making the pop market a high priority. However, Dillon's best-selling album, Out of Your Ever Lovin' Mind, isn't devoid of pop considerations by any means. Rather, he balances honky tonk and pop elements on this CD, which ranges from hardcore country like "Holed Up in Some Honky Tonk" to such pop-flavored offerings as "Holding My Own," "Friday Night's Woman" (a poignant tearjerker describing a single mother's loneliness), and Dillon's heartfelt ode to Buddy Holly, "A Country Boy (Who Rolled the Rock Away)." On the whole, the album (which came out when the singer/composer was 36) isn't magnificent, although most of the songs are likable and decent. And, to be sure, Ever Lovin' Mind has more soul and integrity than a lot of the contrived, homogenized music that had been coming out of Nashville in the 1980s.