Review: Brandon Kinney "Smells Like Texas"

Any red-blooded Texan would want to share a beer with Brandon Kinney. This country boy looks like Texas, sounds like Texas and, yes, smells like Texas. In fact, Kinney's new album, "Smells Like Texas," is an odoriforous, rollickin' good time.

With songs like "Pull My Finger," it would be easy to write Brandon Kinney off as a country comedy act. But that would be a mistake, because Brandon Kinney is a prolific songwriter who's written tracks for Randy Travis, Lonestar, and even has a new song (Ain't Goin' Down On Brokeback Mountain) on Willie Nelson's new album "Lost Highway." By the way, "Pull My Finger" is actually a melodic, surprisingly hummable classic country track.

Brandon Kinney flexes his Texas country muscle with his current radio single, the feel-good "Hicks" which he co-wrote with Trent Willmon. This cut is making it's way up the Texas country charts and deservedly so. Kinney has a unique, country voice that resonates authenticity and fun. "Hicks" has a killer melody that has an anthem-like quality which will make it a popular sing-along song at live concerts.

The biggest surprise on "Smells Like Texas" is the album's final track - a tender ballad "Rough Crowd" with guest vocals by John Anderson. This song allows listeners to get a more complete picture of Brandon Kinney the man. Sure, Kinney is probably the most fun-lovin' guy you'll ever come across, but, at the end of the day, even Brandon Kinney stays true to his West Texas roots by respecting faith and family. Kinney sings:  "I thank God, Jesus runs with the rough crowd." Amen to that.

Brandon Kinney's "Smells Like Texas" is remarkable for its singular focus on no-holds-barred honesty. He sings about the things - very personal things - that friends and lovers talk about in the privacy of their own backyards and bedrooms. While Brandon Kinney uses humor to initially disarm listeners, each track offers a country life lesson. So get out a clothespin, because "Smells Like Texas" deserves a permanent place in your truck's CD player.