Tommy Shane Steiner

Then Came the Night (RCA)

Phases and Stages

Tommy Shane Steiner

Then Came the Night (RCA) Mmmmm, Velveeta. Smooth, consistent, predictable. The debut from Austin-launched hat act Tommy Shane Steiner is typical of contemporary "Hot Country," except it's not as good as most. Kicking off with the uptempo "That Just Wouldn't Be Me," complete with a solo by session guitar honcho Brent Mason, things devolve from bad to worse before turning into countrified elevator music. Songs like "Tell Me Where It Hurts" and "What If She's an Angel" drip with ersatz sentimentality delivered with overblown production. It gets worse; the gimmicky "What We're Gonna Do About It" (about putting the make on a girl in line at Starbucks) and "Havin' a Good Time," where Steiner gets all down and funky for a song about small town life(?!). The clincher, though, is a cover of the Seventies soft-rock hit "I Go Crazy" that's even more insipid than the original. It must be tough to make music that's this bland and inoffensive. Even a duet with Randy Travis ("I Don't Need Another Reason") utterly fails to catch fire. It's amazing that this kind of stuff can be called country music at all; it sounds like flat Eighties adult-contemporary rock, bloodless, slick, and incredibly tedious. For all these reasons, you'll probably be hearing it on country radio soon. God help us.

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