Allbright: If I’d Known Then
ain't no Hank
You ain't no Haggard.
There ain't no songs about Willie and Waylon and you;
Well I'm not claiming to be any of them either;
But I come a hell of a lot closer than you do
I'm from south Texas, I was raised up on Rodriguez,
Ray Price, Gene Watson and old Gary Stewart too;
Now your leather britches may have brought you all your
But your hat and boots are the only thing that's country
“You Ain’t No Hank “– Richie
There is much today that passes
as country music. There are many who pass as country music
singers. The atrocities are all there. Just listen to modern
radio. But every now and then and often by a stroke of good
fortune, you stumble on to someone, usually outside the main
fold of high rotation and industry dictates who restores the
faith. Every now and then, you hear someone with something
who grabs and holds the attention.
Meet Richie Allbright.
The voice comes travelled and
worn. There’s a hurt. There’s passion and there’s a revealed
history and an awkward truth to the tunes on his debut, “If
I’d Known Then” (Electric Cactus Records). Richie Allbright
has lived his music.
Growing up in the small town of
Mathis, Texas, Allbright cherished the dream of being a
country singer. He followed the youthful wannabe exuberance
of every hopeful – he headed for Nashville. The year was
1994. The experience, according to his Myspace web site, was
anything but a success. The temptations, the excesses, and
the ultimate personal losses, including divorce, addiction
and alcohol took their toll.
But that was then; life moves
on. Things, people, situations and circumstances change.
Rather than wallow, Allbright dusted himself down,
refocused, and turned the cutting experiences of his life
into tunes. His tunes. Armed with 12 crafted and powerful
ones, a respected producer in Bill Green, and a hot and
fired studio band, Allbright has realized triumph, at least
the musical kind, can follow turmoil.
With a mainly self-written set
of despair, shattered love and honest and open revelations,
Allbright, as he says in his liner notes, has made an album
of which he is proud.
Here at CSO we agree.
This album wins interest on
several fronts. First: there’s the voice. Allbright
sounds bonafide country – he knows, convincingly, how to
sing, feel and express. As he shares in track two, “I Was
Born This Way”. Then there’s attitude. And this album has it
Listen to “You Ain’t No Hank”,
with its swipe at the “hats” who peddle sales over
substance. Those with little to offer, save good looks and a
contrived image. Not unlike Texan Tommy Alverson, who penned
and poked at the fashionable in the classic “Purty Boys”,
Allbright isn’t being indulgent, just honest.
Cuts like “If I’d Known Then,”
an autobiographical take on Music Row disappointments,
“Where You’re Headed” and the openness of “Raised Right,
Went Wrong” all continue with Allbright’s sharing of hard
times and eventual recovery. Fittingly, the album closes
with “Thank You Lord”, a charged nod to the power of
something bigger than one’s own, often futile, efforts.
Ritchie Allbright has dug deep,
coming up with a prized listen that offers honky-tonk
county, all edged with tight playing and memorable tunes.
Ritchie Allbright. He ain’t no
Hank. He ain’t no Haggard. But he is country -- and
that, friends, comes a hell of a lot closer than many.
A two-word review: get it.
Click the pic to order from Amazon.com.