Pat’s Picks: McGraw’s “Damn Country Music” enjoyable, not life-changing

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Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Patrick Kernan, Managing Editor

I make it no secret that the title of Tim McGraw’s 14th most recent album, “Damn Country Music,” sums up my often negative opinions on the genre as a whole.

Country is just one of those genres that rarely actually clicks with me, and I think it’s better for me to address this bias straight up, than it is to pretend that I don’t have it.

Yet, McGraw does something with this album that makes it work for me.

He does this by bringing the genre back to its roots. The album begins with “Here Tonight,” which sounds decidedly bluegrass and almost traditionally Celtic in its presentation, with repetitively strummed, almost droning guitar common in both styles of music.

This old school country vibe carries on through the first four songs of the album, suddenly switching to a more mainstream country after the title track.

It’s at this point that the album begins to become less interesting for me. While “Damn Country Music” as a title initially described my surprise and excitement over how much I was enjoying the album, it quickly reverted back to my traditional disparagement of the genre.

However, McGraw returned back to the original sounds of the album for the final third of it, even managing to mix in a bit of Southern Rock on “Want You Back,” and he finishes the record up with the emotional “Humble and Kind.”

Did McGraw convert me to country music fandom with this record? No.

But what he did do was create an album that, if occasionally somewhat strangely organized with its smattering of pop country in the middle that was bookended by more traditional sounds, is rather engaging to listen to. McGraw, while not making a classic here, did make some “damn” good country music.

I’m giving “Damn Country Music” a 3 out of 5.

 

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Twitter: @PKernanTWW