Jerry Kilgore: Loaded and Empty (2007) MP3/Flac

Wow. Honkytonker Jerry Kilgore, who had a smidge of success in 1999 playing the Top 40 game, came back with a slam-bang album packed with one great song after another. As far as I'm concerned, this is what Nashville ought to have been doing for the last twenty years. The album opens with "What's It Take To Get A Drink In Here," a Kilgore original in which he wonders whatever happened to his bartender, and makes it known to the world that he is a man who definitely needs a drink, if anyone could be bothered to make it down to his end of the bar. The track is muscular and propulsive, a fiddle-drenched, alcohol-fueled Texas shuffle anchored by a thumping backbeat and a wicked sense of humor. It's the kind of no-holds-barred, straight-ahead, hardcore country that gets your blood pumping while you crank up the volume and start singing along. The next track is equally strong, and the shuffle beat continues through the first half of the album. On "Ain't Got One Honky Tonk (Under His Belt)", Kilgore takes his obligatory shots at the Nashville establishment, questioning whether any of those pretty boys you see on TNN could really take a punch if they were in a bar fight, while on "Both Be On Our Way," he asks a distant lover if it's time for one last tumble. The second half of the record is slower and sees Kilgore trying fancy stuff with his singing that sometimes gets in the way, but mostly sounds just fine. Along with the sizzling hard-country arrangements and Kilgore's rugged, leap-right-out-at-ya vocals, this disc is packed with Kilgore originals -- and the two tunes he didn't write come from the pens of Shawn Camp and Mark Sanders, who ain't slouches, either. If you're wondering where the vigor has gone in modern country music, look no further: you'll want to check this guy out!