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Album Spotlight: Eric Paslay, ‘Eric Paslay’

Eric Paslay Album
UMG Nashville

Eric Paslay’s self-titled debut album is a songwriter’s album, but that doesn’t mean the redheaded singer sounds out of place fronting a full, ultra-modern production. Paslay dabbles with several different styles during the 11 tracks on ‘Eric Paslay.’

The differences are subtle, resulting in a fairly cohesive listen from start to finish. The most striking statement comes late, during the transition between ‘She Don’t Love You’ and ‘Song About a Girl.’ A tender, raw, vocal showcase gives way to producer Marshall Altman’s finest moment. Both would make fine singles. In fact, ‘Song About a Girl’ has been announced as the follow-up to ‘Friday Night.’

Elsewhere, one finds a Tom Petty-esque rocker in ‘Like a Song,’ an energetic folk-rocker in ‘Country Side of Heaven’ and a rolling, banjo-driven, pop-flavored country ditty in ‘Here Comes Love.’ ‘Less Than Whole’ (a spiritual redemption ballad) provides lyrical depth to balance more lighthearted songs, but as a whole, ‘Eric Paslay’ is solid in that area.

Like rock to the roll / Sun to the shine / Baby you go good with wine,” he sings during ‘Good With Wine,’ a mid-tempo love song as hot as anything else on the record.

This Texas singer covers a nice variety of topics on his first effort. Too often a newcomer will lean on love songs like a drunk leans on the drink. It takes confidence and maturity to wrap your voice around a field of issues, and talent to get them to blend seamlessly together on a record.

Key Tracks: ‘Song About a Girl,’ ‘She Don’t Love You,’ ‘Less Than Whole’

Taking His Songs Back: Fans may know that Lady Antebellum recorded ‘Friday Night’ for their ‘Own the Night’ album (2011), but at least two other Paslay songs have been cut by major artists. Big Kenny Alphin of Big and Rich recorded ‘Less Than Whole’ in 2011 (Paslay and Alphin wrote it) and ‘Deep as It Is Wide’ was cut by Amy Grant.

Did You Know?: ‘Friday Night’ came very close to becoming a single for Lady Antebellum, which means Paslay likely wouldn’t be releasing this record today. For whatever reason, the trio opted not to unleash it, so Paslay cut it (he helped write it), making sure it was a unique arrangement.

Next: More Country Music Albums Coming in 2014

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