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Steve Azar - Indianola
Review By: Kevin Snyder, CSO Contributing Journalist

The story says that you can’t go back home. Bon Jovi and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles sang a song about trying to go back home. Steve Azar has found out that the next best thing is bringing home to where you are. Azar does exactly that with his latest album, Indianola.

Born in the Mississippi Delta, Azar incorporates the musical flavors of the region into Indianola by creating a record full of soul, blues, country, and rock. After bursting onto the music scene five years ago with “I Don’t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday)”, Azar has been struggling to find another radio hit. The long layoff to create his next album was well worth the wait as Azar has put out a phenomenal CD with Indianola.

The first track on the album sets Azar apart from most with his good lyrics and nice mixture between steel and electric guitars. The song in question is “Crowded” which is a fresh take on the common theme that the city keeps moving out into the country. 

Next on the album is “You Don’t Know a Thing”, which received some solid radio play over the summer and had professional golfer as the star in the music video. It is a good song with a definite head-bobbing rhythm to it. Written by Azar and Radney Foster, the philosophical song is about finding out who you are by going out and trying something with the hook that you don’t know anything unless you try a go at it.

One of my personal favorites on the record is “You’re My Life”, written again by Azar and Foster. It is a radio hit ready to happen if released. The song is a straight-forward approach to love, yet leaves Azar showing his vulnerability by stating that his love is what keeps him going. Azar nails the song with such lines as, “You’re my passion, you’re my home/You’re the hope that I hang on/You’re the wheels that keep us goin’/Through it all/You’re the second wind I always catch/When I got no breath left in me.”

“Still Tryin’ to Find My Way Around” could be a major hit for anyone in Nashville with some good lyrics and great musical tone and rhythm. It’s about enjoying life, yet having no idea where it is going. Nearly anyone can relate to this song or has been able to relate to it at some point in their life.

Azar cuts a bluegrass-flavored “Empty Spaces” that focuses on filling the empty spaces in your heart with God’s graces. Azar also includes “The River’s Workin’” a song about the great river providing work for Azar when all the jobs on land were gone. The song is obviously influenced by Azar’s upbringing in the Delta.

The album finishes off with four songs that show off the musical diversity that comes from the Mississippi Delta with “Prelude” introducing the Delta blues song “Flatlands” which is a great song that certainly isn’t very country. The next song is a blues-rock song called “Bluestone” which features Steve’s bandleader Jason Young. The song sounds great on the album and is so good that it could make many country fans begin to like blues. 

The album closes with “Indianola”, a song that speaks of the feelings that one goes through as they leave the small town life for the bigger city. A few minutes after the end of “Indianola” come two bonus acoustic tracks that are definitely worth the wait.

Azar took complete control over this album by writing or co-writing every track and producing the album, and it appears that he knew what he was doing. 

Azar may not be the most popular singer out there and he may or may not win any awards, but he certainly deserves more recognition than he has received. With the release of Indianola, Azar should open a few eyes and gain a new audience of fans. 


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