Review: Ben Kweller - Changing Horses

The album "Changing Horses" is a revelation and a major surprise, because Ben Kweller is known as a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and this is his first foray into country music. But "Changing Horses" proves that Kweller's first departure into country music should definitely not be his last. In fact, Ben Kweller's "Changing Horses" is an instant country classic.

Growing up in a small East Texas town meant that Ben Kweller came naturally to country music because he he was surrounded by it. As a kid, Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt ruled the radio in Greenville, Texas. Kids in cowboy hats were as common in Greenville as taxis are in New York City.

One of the finest songs on the album is the first single "Fight." Kweller's country vocals are perfect and the instrumentation rivals that of any country artist working today. One of the most unexpected elements of "Changing Horses" is the realization that Ben Kweller was born to be a country musician. The lyrics are among the most intimate and piercing of any country album released in the last few years, and the passion in Kweller's voice mixed with the excellent production and instrumentation create a potent masterpiece.

No detail is left to chance on Ben Kweller's "Changing Horses." Even the record packaging perfectly compliments the music. But it's the music that matters most to Ben Kweller. The three best songs on the album are "Things I Like To Do," "Homeward Bound" and the first single "Fight." The track "Things I Like To Do" is highly hummable with seemingly simplistic lyrics that are actually very textured, personal and revealing. The cut "Homeward Bound" is passionately performed and showcases Kweller the storyteller, who offers a vocal performance that is remarkably nuanced and quietly confident.

Ben Kweller's "Changing Horses" is one of the best country albums of the last few years. This piece of work can confidently stand beside classic country albums. Moreover, this sparkling country recording heralds the arrival of a refreshingly unique new country star.