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Cowboy Troy - Black In The Saddle 
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

“In the winter, December of 89, I picked up my pen started makin’ my rhymes/ And I appreciate the listener for takin’ the time/ Cos I’m pouring out my soul in every lyric and line/And I remember what it’s like to be the focus of every punch line…Take your best shot now, cos I’m flyin’ so high/ You’ll run out of ammo before you touch the sky” Cowboy Troy – “Take Your Best Shot Now”.

At six foot five inches, Muzik Mafia member Cowboy Troy casts a big shadow. He also has a voice that grabs attention with its beefy hold on his brand of music. He calls it “hick hop”. Throw in a wide hat, a fat belt buckle and a handle of “the real yawlternative”, Cowboy Troy almost passes as the real deal. Black In The Saddle is the second release from this popular host of Nashville Star. 

It’s an impressive profile of the lanky Texan. Add mafia mogul John Rich to the mix, (J.Money (Rich) side saddles as Cowboy’s co-producer) and you’d think you have the definitive country album. Right? Wrong!

There’s no doubting the country sentiments and lyrical similarities of what Cowboy Troy does on his collaborative efforts across these 12 tracks (two of the cuts are dance remixes). But the hat and buckle fashion thing won’t be enough for what the modern CMT devotee will consider twang. The simple truth is Cowboy’s music ain’t what many consider country.

But while the “new country” debate lingers, Cowboy Troy (Troy Coleman) has a unique take on the music he’s marketed at. He’s boundary hopping and genre bouncing – but that’s the problem. Just who is the intended audience? And while he raps passionately about causes of social inequality, unfairness and inappropriate labeling of persons, all fired with the speed of a rattling gun, it doesn’t sit with the image of denim, boots and Stetson hats.

The drums pound, the guitar riffs are explosive and the vocal layering is something for Saturday night, but it won’t fire on the jukebox at the Dew Drop Inn. Buried deep into the heavy production are sprinklings of fiddles and banjos, causing the album (to my ears at least) to be nothing more than a token grab for a country tag.

Look, what Troy the cowboy does is probably ya thang, if you’re into slick production and clipped messages that shadow the struggle for acceptance and tolerance, all shot at you in staccato, but it won’t grab if you’re a hurtin’ soul in need of music played out with steel, fiddle and Dobro.

Some of this will certainly grab your ear, engaging your heart will be a stretch.

The album is out now on Warner Bros.

Click on the CD cover 
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Related Links:
Official Website  

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