Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Robert Larrabee Middle of Something CD Review

Middle of Something is a good example of an artist qualified and ready for country music success. There’s a lot of variety on this effort, which shows off what Robert Larrabee can do well.

As a singer, Larrabee sounds a little like Luke Bryan, particularly during “What About Today.” Lyrically, this song expresses Larrabee’s optimism. Instead of getting overwhelmed by negativity, Larrabee sings about the good in life and gives many reasons to be happy.

Like a lot of country singers, Larrabee has a strong spiritual side. This part of his musical personality is expressed via “Godly Man.” It’s a lyric that speaks about his heart’s desire to be a good Christian. He wants to be a good example for his family, of course, but he also wants to be that living, Christ-like example even to strangers.

The most upbeat track on this collection is called “Round Here.” This is a song that describes dancing to music and tells the listener exactly how to do it.

One obvious single from the album is “Middle of Something,” especially since it’s included in a radio edit format. The song speaks about how he can never do the things he really wants to do because he’s always in the middle of something else. In a subtle way, he also applies this description to his love life. He vows to make loving his woman a priority, and in a sense telling the rest of the world he’s in the middle of something right now.

Just as “What About Today” speaks out against pessimism, “Who Cares” takes a shot at Madison Avenue, which is constantly trying to make people feel inferior if they don’t dress and act like celebrities in Hollywood. Larrabee wants to be himself, and wear jeans and cowboy boots. If people don’t like it, who cares? He’s going to be himself and not let advertising executives tell him how he should behave.

The song “Guy Thing” is good, but a little bit of a cliché. On it, Larrabee talks about typical male stereotypes. He saves the song by talking about more positive male traits. However, these sorts of stereotypes have been explored with more success and humor elsewhere in country music. Trace Adkins probably has an album’s worth of such songs, most of which are better than Larrabee’s example here.

All told, though, Larrabee County is a solid effort. It’s not something that’s going to change the face of country music – Larrabee is not nearly that adventurous. However, it stands up well next to what’s going on in country music these days. Larrabee’s a good singer, and he creates good songs. The production on this release is also fine.

If he gets the right promotion, and one of these songs catches the ear of country radio folks, Robert Larrabee could really go places. Of course, sounding like what’s popular now may get his foot in the door, but it will take more than familiarity for Larrabee to truly stand out. With that said, though, he is certainly an artist to keep an eye on. Let’s hope he’s matched with people that know how to groom country performers for commercial success because this is one performer with the tools to go far.

Best of all, perhaps, is how Larrabee sounds like a true country singer. He’s not trying to give lip service to the genre; he’s the real deal. With country’s trend of Southern rockers masquerading as country artists, it’s refreshing to hear a recording that doesn’t try to pump up the volume just to get the attention of young rock fans that honestly don’t know the difference between country music and amped up rock. That makes Larrabee Country real country.

Artist: Robert Larrabee

Album: Middle of Something

Review By: Dan MacIntosh

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (out of 5)