Rodney Carrington: Make It Christmas

RIYL: Frank Sinatra, Clay Aiken, Harry Connick, Jr.

Funny man Rodney Carrington has been making a living with his comedy for several years now, and music has been a focal point of his show. But Carrington, who has been a regular in the Nashville songwriting community, kept hearing from fans that he had such a nice voice, that he should at some point make a serious record, not just funny, to showcase that voice. Well, Carrington has done that with Make It Christmas, and in the vein of classic crooners like Frank Sinatra but with a modern twist, he’s done it extremely well. In fact, there is no way to tell whether or not Carrington is anything but a professional singer after listening. He even wrote one of the tracks, the swinging (and totally awesome) “The Presents Under the Tree (Better Be for Me).” There are also classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” woven in with songs that have a Nashville flavor and songwriter credits like “Mary Did You Know” and “Camouflage and Christmas Lights.” But regardless of who wrote what or what songs Carrington chose for this release, we’re going to steal a line from “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson: “Dude can really sing!” Easily the most pleasant surprise of this holiday season, and maybe the start of a nice second career for Carrington. (Capitol Nashville 2009)

Rodney Carrington MySpace Page


Tim McCarver: Sings Songs from the Great American Songbook

RIYL: Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr, Nat King Cole

Tim McCarver was a heck of a baseball player and is, despite the fact that many of you find his broadcasting annoying, a fantastic color analyst who teaches us more about the game with each passing telecast. He’s also blessed with a set of pipes that have granted him a long career calling games. But for those of you expecting a train wreck on McCarver’s debut as a singer, Tim McCarver Sings Songs from the Great American Songbook, you might want to save those eggs and tomatoes for someone else. We’ll give you that he’s nowhere in the class of crooners who made or make their living doing that, because you can certainly hear the green in McCarver’s wavering vocals at times. But for the most part, McCarver does a stand-up job on songs, that, let’s face it, are not easy to sing. It’s a nice little set of tunes, and among the best are the opener, “On a Clear Day,” the bouncy “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” and the one that he makes very believable giving his background, “There Used to Be a Ballpark.” Nobody expects McCarver to quit his day job, but he’s going to exceed lots of expectations with this one. (Archer 2009)

Tim McCarver at Archer Records


Rob Blackledge: Inside These Walls

Mississippi-raised and Nashville-based Rob Blackledge was torn between pursuing a career in baseball or in music. But his love of music was affirmed after he decided to attend Belmont University in Nashville, a music industry hub, when Blackledge won a talent contest and had a positive crowd reaction leave him wanting more of that artist/audience connection that can be magical when it’s right. Blackledge honed his craft while touring with Nashville favorite son Dave Barnes, co-wrote country act Love and Theft’s “Runaway,” then later signed with One Revolution Entertainment. Now Blackledge has his own debut album, Inside These Walls, and his wide range of influences are all there for the world to see – James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Ben Folds among them. That may seem crazy, but it’s not – Blackledge is accomplished on both piano and guitar, his melodies soar with his falsetto (which he wisely does not overuse), and everything is tied together nicely by producer Jeff Coplan. Among a solid set of songs, the best ones are the hummable “Early Morning Riser,” the radio-ready “Should Have Known Better,” and the understated R&B-infused beauty, “Worth Taking” – the latter of which could be a huge Top 40 hit in the right hands. (One Revolution Entertainment 2009)

Rob Blackledge MySpace page


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