Album Review: Tyler Farr - Redneck Crazy
By: Matt Bjorke
If Tyler Farr has proven anything with his breakout single "Redneck Crazy," it's that he can perform a song which isn't beholden to being a mid-tempo raver or an uptempo party-hearty kind of song to breakout. Instead he broke out with the kind of song that was 'mid-tempo' but also a ballad that has a theme of heartache as old as Country music itself. For the rest of his 11 track record -- also titled Redneck Crazy -- Farr is featured as the songwriter on six of the tracks, including the strong opener "Dirty," a song which keeps Far decidedly on the 'traditional' side of the current Country music debate with a groove-filled, honky tonk ready sound that is as playful as it sounds "greasy." The tune was written with Rhett Akins and Luke Laird and while the lyrics do feel a little like the songs on the radio, it's not exactly the same sounding song as everyone else.
"Hello Goodbye" was a single in 2012 and it's still a shame that this co-write with Skip Black and Kris Bergsnes wasn't massive hit. It showcases Tyler's strong voice, a rang that not many vocalists are able to replicate. His voice is a voice that has more grit than John Rich in the lower registers but soars as high or higher than Rich in the chorus and is proof of Farr's classical vocalist training. It is also perhaps the best-written track on the record with heaps of emotional depth. The acoustic cloister "Living With The Blues" is another case where Farr showcases his vocalist chops, it's a place where he can show off a voice that is unmistakably his and unlike anyone else.
As this record is of the here and now, there are tracks that fit within what we hear on the radio and these include "Cowgirl," -- written by Erin Enderlin co-wrote it with Phil O'Donnell, and Shane Minor -- a song I'd choose to release as the next single from the album as it's mid-tempo and a ballad that could help the singer string together a pair of hits. Another 'current' song is "Ain't Even Drinkin'," a track Farr co-wrote with J.R. McCoy and Houston Phillips that should be a contender for a single for the Summer of 2013. "Whiskey In My Water" has a sing-a-long ready chorus but perhaps doesn't soar as high as "Ain't Even Drinkin'" but isn't a bad song by any means (but may be just a little too everyman compared to the rest of the tracks on the record).
"Wish I Had A Boat" is another one that melds tradition with modern lyrics and sound and the tune, which Tyler co-wrote with Lee Brice, Brian Davis and Vicky McGehee, is pure fun with a strong sing-a-long ready chorus. As a former touring member of Colt Ford's band, it should come as no surprise that the star country rapper guests on the albom with "Chicks, Trucks, and Beer," a song which allows both Tyler and Colt to have more than a little bit of fun. Written by Rhett Akins and Craig Wiseman, the song is unmistakably country with the melodies and lyrics. It's also all in good clean fun and ready for a Mud Bog party. A song with a 'rap' that may be more palatable to Country radio programmers is "Makes You Wanna Drink," a song more in line with the kind of spoken word verses that Blake Shelton worked with "Boys 'Round Here."
Tyler Farr may have needed a third single to break out at radio but the mere fact that Sony Nashville kept with Tyler despite radio's lukewarm reaction to "Hot Mess" and "Hello Goodbye" is a good thing, as Redneck Crazy proves. Tyler Farr has the ability to become one of Country Music's top artists with a strong, likable voice that is put to ample use on the eleven tracks held within and it also suggests there's even more to the man that we've only scratched the surface of.