Album Review: Chris Cagle - Back In The Saddle
By: Matt Bjorke
After about a decade with Capitol Records Nashville, Chris Cagle has moved onto Bigger Picture for the release of his fifth full-length album, Back In The Saddle. Working with Platinum producer and Bigger Picture executive Keith Stegall, Cagle's returns with an album which showcases what he's always done best. That is, he is best when singing rocking songs that bring an AC/DC-like musical swagger to country music with lyrics which are clearly country and western influenced along with a few choice ballads.
The lead single "Got My Country On" certainly showcased this and ended up being a Top 15 hit as it showcased Cagle singing about the virtues of a country music life. "I'll Grow My Own" follows a similar tact but is more aggressive with a lyric about being able to live off your own land and do things your own way, outside of the way others think you should lead your life. It's an interesting lyric that was co-written by Cagle and The Warren Brothers. A couple of other strong tempo-filled singles are second single "Let There Be Cowgirls" (which thanks god for the women of the heartland) and "When Will My Lover Come Around," a song which Jonathan Singleton co-wrote with Jim Beavers for his own album that was released in 2009. Cagle does a nice job singing the song but it does feel as if it's just sorta there to fill-in the album's track list.
While the swaggering up tempos are the more distinctive part of Cagle's personality, he's scored the biggest hits of his career with the ballads which include the dobro-filled "Probably Just Time" a song written by Dennis and Kathy Matovsky and #1 hit singer/songwriter Jonathan Singleton ("Watching Airplanes" and "Let It Rain"), "Southern Girl," a song written by Cagle and label mate D. Vincent Williams (who has written multiple hits including "I'm Moving On"). Williams also co-produced the track. "Thank God She Left The Whiskey" and album closer "Just Enough" round out the ballads along with "Now I Know What Mamma Meant"
Back In The Saddle is a strong collection of songs that run the gamut from hard rockin' AC/DC inspired country rock and fiddle and steel guitar-drenched ballads that prove that a man can comeback from some time off with the best album of their career.