Review: Deryl Dodd "Together Again"

Authenticity has been the key ingredient for Deryl Dodd's success in country music. And after more than thirteen years since he released his first album with Columbia Records, Deryl Dodd is back with "Together Again," a deeply personal album that might be his best yet.

Deryl Dodd's path to solo country music success began when he worked as a guitar player and back-up singer for Martina McBride. After a successful run in Nashville, Dodd moved back to Texas and was asked to record an album for Smith Music's landmark "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" series of albums. This was followed by "Stronger Proof" and "Full Circle."
But with "Together Again," something seems to have changed in the life and the music of Deryl Dodd. The country music artist seems to be in the midst of rediscovering his musical roots and his connections with loved ones of years gone by. This makes for a compelling album, and "Together Again" is a must-buy for any lover of traditional country music with a Red Dirt edge.

The album starts off strong with the title track and current single "Together Again," which is a remake of the Buck Owens classic from 1964. This is one heck of a good song, and the musicianship and vocals by Dodd take you back to the simpler times in America. The next track "Back To The Honky Tonks" is a pleasing, classic country tune.

Deryl Dodd's songs and lyrics reflect issues facing average, blue collar men and women. "Death, Taxes and Texas" captures the struggles Americans are feeling in today's rough economic climate. "Beer And The Belly" tackles our love of food and alcohol in a compelling way, and "Life Behind Bars" focuses on the struggles faced my the hundreds of thousands of men in US jails and prisons. "Life Behind Bars" has definite potential to chart on country radio, and program directors should take notice of this track.

But the best song on "Together Again" is the terrific "You're Not Lookin' For." This tune has thoughtful lyrics, beautiful vocal delivery by Dodd and a hummable melody. "You're Not Looking For" shows Deryl Dodd at the very top of his game and the strength of his winning personality as a country musician. "It Don't Take Much" is another top tune and is reminiscent of classic Doug Stone songs. This should also be a crowd pleasing, sing-along song at Deryl Dodd concerts.

"Things You Don't Know" and "Lost Highway" tread more familiar country ground, and the tracks are successful. The biggest surprise of the album is "All I Know," which is another track with chart potential.

The influence of gospel music has been significant on Deryl Dodd, and he pays tribute to God and his spiritual mentors with the upbeat classic "I'll Fly Away." And as a special treat, Dodd includes a 1959 home recording of "John The Revelator" featuring his grandparents, Lewis and Gladys Dodd. After hearing this cut, there is no doubt where Deryl Dodd got his talent.

It is very good fortune for the entire state of Texas and music lovers everywhere that Deryl Dodd grew tired of pre-fab Nashville and its fascination with pop country. With "Together Again," Deryl Dodd has fully turned the page on his Nashville country music career and embraced a more interesting and personal Texas music career that respects the traditions of his Texas roots, shines a spotlight on his love of faith and family and vocalizes the concerns of average, blue-collar men and women. This is Deryl Dodd 2.0, and it works.

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