A big sounding, glossy, polished new album from Texan Bobby Duncan.
From 2012 to 2018, the television series “Nashville” was a must watch for lovers of country music – both old and new. It was a bit soapy and often a bit mushy but it featured some excellent music. A lot of it was set in the city’s tiny, intimate Bluebird Café but there was also a parallel story that featured big arena songs with power ballads and ringing guitar solos which contrasted with the smaller songs and venues. Bobby Duncan is probably at more home at places like the Bluebird but his latest album, ‘Maybe This Time’ sounds like it’s aimed at those arena shows to come.
Recorded in Fort Worth TX at Fort Worth Sound and produced by Duncan and long-time associate Chris Watson, the album starts as it means to go on with what sounds like an alien has invaded the studio and is roaring at the music – or it could be a backwards recording of the lion that opens MGM movies! Then follows three big anthemic, rocky tracks ‘Close Enough To Break Your Heart’, ‘Love All Along’ and ‘Down On The Avenue’ before the album takes a breath and there’s an acoustic start to the title track, ‘Maybe This Time’ which then morphs into a power ballad with heavily featured organ and guitar solo of which there are quite a few on the album. The other six tracks very from big rock-country songs to melodic power ballads which Duncan has the perfect voice for. The production on the album is excellent throughout, with a big polished, glossy feel to it which makes it easy on the ear.
The songs are all either written solo by Duncan or co-writes with Donovan Hall Dodd and Walt Wilkins apart from a superb Bruce Springsteen cover ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ which is one of Duncan’s favourite songs from “The Boss”. On his own songs, Duncan writes very personally about love, Fort Worth, being a husband and a father to his twins, friendship and the human condition – all very heartfelt. Duncan states that Garth Brooks was his biggest influence when he started playing music and there’s a lot of Brooks on the album with the big songs, ringing guitar chords and strong arrangements all the way through.
This is Bobby Duncan’s first album for over ten years. Judging by the quality of ‘Maybe This Time’ it won’t take as long to release the follow-up.