Following up 2009 debut Outlaw in My Mind, Jeff Whitehead's sophomore LP demonstrates a good sense for melody, but still a great deal of development needed as a country-loving songwriter. Opener "Shine" drifts in light tropes and metaphors that alternate between too trite and stretched, while "Something Never Known" strikes a familiar yearning without wrangling its narrative. "Wake Up" rolls with an easy melody behind piano and steel guitar, and "Pardon Me" offers glimpses of the local's songwriting promise, yet these remain the only potential high points of an otherwise lukewarm album. The radio-ready chorus of "Rain Like This in Georgia" and dark, backwater rhythm of "Never Going Back" show promise, but Whitehead needs to further hone his craft and tighten his lyrics to match the polished production and strong backing.
Copyright © 2015 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.