ALBUM REVIEW: Derek Sholl - Here

Derek Sholl expected to have a career in baseball after being drafted by the Kansas City Royals, where he discovered his love of country music stars like Alan Jackson and Randy Travis. After an injury sidelined his baseball dreams, he got serious about a country music career and ended up with a successful Las Vegas country stage show. To top it off, he became a friend and opening act of Jay Leno at the Mirage.
Derek Sholl's album "Here" features the former pro-baseball player's strong, polished vocals and songwriting skill. The album's title cut and current single seeks to showcase the classic country voice of Derek Sholl, and it succeeds. Like many new male country artists, the musical influence of Alan Jackson is also evident on some of the tracks. And that's a good thing.

The hard-rockin' "Pour Me A Double" is among the best songs on the album and gives listeners a glimpse of the power and energy they will find at Derek Sholl's popular live shows. The first track "Even If It Kills Me" also provides proof of Sholl's vocal chops.

The surprising thing about Derek Sholl's album is just how darn good he sounds singing country ballads. "One More Round," "The Dash" and "Need More Proof" could be major hits for Derek Sholl. His reassuring, confident yet vulnerable voice perfectly fits the mood on the standout ballad "That Was Something," which deserves a wide audience. This song should be released to radio immediately.

Derek Sholl proves to country music fans (and country radio program directors) that he truly is "Here" with his great new album. On the surface, Sholl has everything going for him - good songs and the looks of a country star. But looking deeper at his music, Sholl's album shows that he is a gifted songwriter with a huge drive, a skill for marketing and, most importantly, an amazing new country voice that is definitely just warming up. So move over Randy and Alan, the name of the next batter is Derek Sholl.