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Randy Travis - Around The Bend
By: Jolene Downs, CSO Contributing Journalist  

Randy Travis has one of the most distinctive voices in the industry and it is little wonder that you will find him among the top 10 selling solo country artists. His first mainstream country album in eight years, Around the Bend, debuted at Number 3 on the Country Music Album Charts while the first single, "Faith in You," debuted at Number 14 on the Billboard top 200 singles chart. Listening to Travis work his way through this album of solid country music, it is quickly apparent what is missing. There is no over produced, electronically edited, meshed instrument noises to be found. Instead, you'll be able to pick out the pure sound of each individual instrument and once again enjoy the sounds of a singing fiddle and a steel guitar and remember how real country music is truly supposed to sound. Add Travis' deep baritone voice and this is truly the perfect country album.

The album kicks off with the title track and quickly sets the standard for the country music goldmine that follows. "Around The Bend" is a song that talks about what might be waiting for you around the bend. If you aren't willing to take the chance to see what life will give you by trying new things, you may miss out on some of the best things it has to offer. "You Didn't Have A Good Time" talks about something that a lot of people seem to like to do. They go to all the parties and tell themselves they are having a great time, even while all the alcohol in their system is making them sick. They always seem to be looking for happiness in the bottle, but it always eludes their grasp. Until you can admit to yourself you aren't having a good time, you won't have the ability to change. Travis' quiet sense of humor came through in "Every Head Bowed" as he brings back memories of being forced to sit in church as a child and be quiet with your head bowed and your eyes closed for what seemed like forever. "Faith in You" is one of the best ballads I've heard in some time. It's very open and honest and talks about how people can make a difference if they have faith in themselves and those they trust.

The eleven track album is a great blend of music, switching back and forth from the serious to the light-hearted and keeping an even mix of slow and up-tempo. Each of the tracks could easily stand on its own as a single release. Good things are worth waiting for and this album is a real gem. Travis has outdone himself.

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