Review: Steve Azar "Slide On Over Here"

Steve Azar has produced the best  album of his career with "Slide On Over Here," which offers meaningful, soul-searching songs along with other tracks just meant for good times. The Greenville, Mississippi native recently settled into a new home a few miles south of Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and three kids that includes a home recording studio. No doubt, his stable family life and easy studio access helped Steve Azar create an album that is a true country gem.

"Slide On Over Here" starts off strong with the melodic track "I'll Find Me," and Azar tackles the nation's financial crisis with his current single, the rockin' "Moo La Moo." Two other hard-driving tracks, "Sinkin' Or Swimmin' (With You)" and "Sweet Delta Chains," also deserve special mention.

However, Steve Azar's star shines the brightest on his most tender tracks, such as "Sunshine," "Take Your Time (Ryan's Song)," "Beautiful Regret" and the excellent "Back To Memphis." But the best song on the album is the beautiful ballad "All I Need," which should be released as a single. Azar's voice has never sounded better, and "All I Need" has all of Steve Azar's charm mixed with a Texas country edge reminiscent of the best songs of Robert Earl Keen and Jack Ingram. "All I Need" should be a major country chart hit.

The track "Hard Road" shows a different side of Steve Azar with a traditional country sound combined with a small dose of the alt-country style common in Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam's music. "Startin' Today" is a song that will strike a chord with everyone who promises to start dieting or quit smoking "starting today." Steve Azar offers a low-key vocal performance that adds resonance to the powerful lyrics.

"Let Go Of The Rope" gives Steve Azar the best chance to showcase the type of music that made him a country star. But the biggest surprise on the album is "Apart At The Seams." This track should also be released at the single, and country music radio will eat it up like donuts at a police station.

"Slide On Over Here" is a well-rounded, mature album that captures the heart and soul of average Americans mixed with a little bit of fun. The album is chock full of songs that will strike a chord with just about everyone. So "slide on over" to one of  Steve Azar's many concert appearances and give him a big pat on the back for releasing one of the best country albums of 2009.